Dalai Lama Wins Templeton Prize

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader known for his doctrine of nonviolence, is the 2012 Templeton Prize winner. He accepted the award in a prepared video statement.

For decades, the Dalai Lama has encouraged a dialogue among different religions and between science and religion, specifically promoting collaborations that examine the ways science and Buddhism can learn from each other to better understand the human mind, consciousness, and emotions, and explore some of life’s big questions—like whether compassion can be taught.

He co-founded the Mind & Life Institute to promote scientific research into the benefits of spiritual practices, and he helped create programs that introduce science education into Tibetan monasteries in India. In 2009, Stanford University launched The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education with a 150,000 dollar donation from the Dalai Lama. The center supports scientific research into compassion and altruistic behavior in an effort to improve well-being.

The Templeton Prize, valued at about 1.7 million dollars, celebrates someone who has made “exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” It will be officially presented to the Dalai Lama at a ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on May 14.

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