Report By: Nina Rai
London, 31 March, 2012
Tibet’s Buddhist head, Dalai Lama has been named by US-based John Templeton Foundation, as the winner of this year’s Templeton Prize worth $1.7 million for his work affirming the spiritual dimension of life.
A press release by the Foundation on Thursday, March 29, declares that the Buddhist Guru "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 announcement comes against the backdrop of Tibetan protests against Chinese regime escalating even further. Since 2011, thirty Tibetans, mostly Buddhist monks and nuns, have immolated themselves, out of which 20 have died, inform Tibetan rights groups.
Just this week on Wednesday one Tibetan youth died after setting himself ablaze in New Delhi. This tragic incident took place just hours before Chinese Premier Hu Jintao was due to arrive in India for the BRIC summit, comprising of emerging market nations.
The Dalai Lama has aroused the ire of the Chinese government by refusing to condemn the protests. The Tibetan ‘Gandhi,’ meanwhile, has accused Beijing of presiding over a "cultural genocide" against Tibetans.
The Chinese communist troops have occupied Tibet since 1950. In the turmoil, the Dalai Lama managed to escape and now lives in exile in India after an aborted uprising against Chinese rule.
76-year old Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. This world famous modern day votary of non-violence and compassion is considered by his followers as the reincarnation of an ancient Buddhist leader.
Accepting the recognition humbly, the Dalai Lama, declared in video, filmed at his headquarters in Dharamsala, India, that it is "another sign of recognition about my little service to humanity, mainly non-violence and unity around different religious traditions". The award will be presented to the Dalai Lama at St Paul's Cathedral in London on May 14, 2012.
The Templeton Prize is the brain-child of late Sir John Templeton, an international investor and philanthropist. The prize for Dalai Lama was announced by his son and successor at the Templeton Foundation, John Templeton Jr. The prize gets critiqued, with a swipe at journalist fellows, as well as over science sites.