Book Club
Breaking Free from the Terminal Lifestyle: Infinite Life by Robert Thurman

In Infinite Life, Professor Robert Thurman shares his joyous, exuberant, expansive, yet realistic view of the multiverse, as viewed from inner space. Infinite Life is richly written and inspiring as it delights, softens, and opens the heart.

Infinite Life has different editions with different subtitles: Awakening to Bliss Within, Seven Virtues for Living Well, but Prof. Thurman’s favorite subtitle (which his publisher would never agree to) is “Breaking Free from the Terminal Lifestyle.”

“If the infinite life is free and full of endless possibilities, then what is the terminal, constricted, finite life? It is just the opposite—a life limited in possibilities and human potential, a life that does not motivate us to achieve fulfillment for ourselves or for those around us.” (p. 10)

And who needs that?

With Prof. Thurman’s superb guidance, we’ll be pointed away from the terminal lifestyle, and warmly encouraged to at least consider as an “experimental idea”—or embrace, if we can—a realistic view, free and full of possibility.

After introducing us to the nature of reality and Buddhism as “a joyous science of the heart,” Infinite Life presents seven transcendent and universal virtues: Wisdom, Generosity, Justice, Patience, Creativity, Contemplation, and The Art of of Infinite Living. The Art of Infinite Living is the summation, culmination, practice, application, or personal performance of all of the transcendent virtues combined.

Infinite Life invites us all, people of all religions and no religion at all, to expand our view of reality, and to entertain the idea of our “infinite intertwinement with all beings,” which Thich Nhat Hanh calls “interbeing.” And you’re invited to join us.

Reading Schedule

Week 1: 

Foreward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Intro, Part I, xiii-29

Week 2: 

Buddhism: A Joyous Science of the Heart, Wisdom, 31-55

Week 3: 

Wisdom (cont’d), 56-82

Week 4: 

Generosity, 83-113

Week 5: 

Justice, 115-151

Week 6: 

Patience, 151-186

Week 7: 

Creativity, Contemplation, 187-230

Week 8: 

Contemplation (cont’d), The Art of Infinite Living, 230-276

Important Note

This is an online-only event that is administered using Zoom, as the center is currently closed due to COVID-19. Zoom is an interactive video-conferencing tool that allows participants to see one another and ask questions. You will need a computer, a tablet or a smartphone with the Zoom application to attend.

After registering, the system automatically sends a confirmation and/or a receipt email that contains the Zoom meeting link or other instructions. If you are using Zoom for the first time, please login a few minutes earlier to allow any necessary installations on your device.

If you don’t immediately receive the email(s) with the Zoom information, or you have questions about Zoom or accessing the class online, please contact us at [email protected].

Registration / Schedule

Suggested: $20 per session, $144 for all 8 weeks

Other offering options: free, $5, $10, $30

The suggested amount helps support teacher offerings and expenses, direct costs and rent. Shantideva member discounts or benefits will be applied automatically if you have a membership in MindBody. If you need assistance transferring your membership in PayPal, please contact [email protected].

Shantideva Center may publish recorded sessions in the public domain (e.g., on YouTube). By registering for this event, you are agreeing to give your consent to this process. To protect your privacy, we recommend being conscious about any personal information you share during the sessions. To further enhance anonymity, you may want to consider turning off video or naming yourself using abbreviations.

Time zone: US Eastern Standard Time (GMT/UTC-4)

For questions regarding registration, please email [email protected] for assistance.

Additional Materials

Please purchase the book Infinite Life by Robert Thurman, before the course begins, and, if possible, complete the Week 1 reading prior to our first online meeting.

Infinite Life by Robert Thurman

Book Recommendations from a Buddhist Scholar

About the Facilitator

Janna Weiss currently practices acupuncture and teaches mind science in New York City. She holds a PhD from the University of Texas Austin in Biological Sciences – Botany (ethnobotany). Janna is also a human rights activist and blogger, for peace, for Tibet, and for the rights of people with developmental and psychosocial disabilities, or those perceived to be so. Janna began studying Tibetan Buddhism with Dharma Friends of Israel in 2005.