Earlier today in St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Dalai Lama accepted the $1.7 million Templeton Prize, awarded for promoting scientific research and religious harmony. In a press conference before the ceremony, he said he felt the news media place too much emphasis on the importance of the economy and people have a misguided perception of money as the “ultimate source of happiness.”
When asked what spiritual advice he would share with those suffering from economic turmoil, the Dalai Lama said, “this is a manmade problem” and suggested an answer would be found through “individual optimism” and “determination.”
Citing a retirement from political responsibility, the Dalai Lama did not respond to a question from the press about the self-immolation of Tibetans. But later, the Buddhist leader stepped into the realm of political commentary when he said China is in the midst of a “moral crisis” and has “no proper rule of law.” He added that governments including the United States, Germany and the UK have supported the Tibetan cause by expressing “genuine concern when they meet their counterparts” in the Chinese leadership.
The Dalai Lama also revealed that he would be dividing the substantial monetary prize between several non-profit organizations. The largest share – $1.5 million – will go to Save the Children’s work in India. Another $200,000 will support the efforts of The Mind and Life Institute whose stated mission is “Building a scientific understanding of the mind to reduce suffering and promote well-being.” The remainder of the cash award will go to support academic instruction in science within the Dalai Lama’s own monastic institution.
Recently Arianna Huffington met with the Dalai Lama to uncover more of how science and religion could converge. Are you interested in more stories of compassion? Check out the Call on Faith Compassionate Acts Channel!
Watch today’s Templeton Media Panel with the Dalai Lama here:
Watch the Dalai Lama’s acceptance speech, recorded in March, here: