The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, 76, has won the 2012 Templeton Prize worth $1.7 million for his work affirming the spiritual dimension of life, the U.S.-based John Templeton Foundation said.
The prize will be awarded at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on May 14.
“When I heard today your decision to give me this quite famous award, I really felt this is another sign of recognition about my little service to humanity, mainly, nonviolence and unity around different religious traditions,” the Dalai Lama said in a released statement. “Whenever we face a problem we have to find a nonviolent way to solve that problem. Use violence, rely on force cannot solve the problem. That is my fundamental belief.”
For decades, the Dalai Lama – a lineage believed by followers to be the reincarnation of an ancient Buddhist leader who epitomized compassion – has vigorously focused on the connections between the investigative traditions of science and Buddhism as a way to better understand and advance what both disciplines might offer the world, the foundation reported.
Specifically, he encourages serious scientific investigative reviews of the power of compassion and its broad potential to address the world’s fundamental problems – a theme at the core of his teachings and a cornerstone of his immense popularity. Within that search, the “big questions” he raises – such as “Can compassion be trained or taught?” – reflect the deep interest of the founder of the Templeton Prize, the late Sir John Templeton, in seeking to bring scientific methods to the study of spiritual claims and thus foster the spiritual progress that the Prize has recognized for the past 40 years.
The Dalai Lama also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.
While he said he was both proud and happy to receive the Templeton Prize, he also said he is “a simple Buddhist monk,” and will remain that way even after receiving the award.
“Of course more people may pay some attention about my talks, my thoughts, so in that sense, I think, very, very helpful. You are helping my effort. Thank you very much,” he concluded.
See the Dalai Lama’s video message about the prize below: