The Dalai Lama is giving away £1.1m to charity.
At a service in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, the 76-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader – born Lhamo Dhondub, and believed by his Buddhist followers to be the reincarnation of an ancient leader known for his exceptional compassion – received the annual Templeton Prize, which is worth £1.1 million, and announced his intention to give all the money to charity, saying that his generation is now placing its hope in future generations. Save the Children will receive the majority (around £900,000), for its work in India, where even just £100 is enough to train a health worker. £125,000 will go to the Mind and Life Institute, and a fund to educate Tibetan monks about science will also benefit.
The Foundation awarded him the prize for encouraging “serious scientific investigative reviews of the power of compassion”, and its potential to address world problems, with people beyond his own religious traditions.
“With an increasing reliance on technological advances to solve the world’s problems, humanity also seeks the reassurance that only a spiritual quest can answer. The Dalai Lama offers a universal voice of compassion underpinned by a love and respect for spiritually relevant scientific research that centres on every single human being.” (Dr John Templeton, President of the Foundation.)
He was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 23 years ago. He continues to be a thorn in the side of China, which denies claims that it has been plotting to kill him.
This year is the Prize’s 40th anniversary: it was established in 1972 to honour a living person who affirms “life’s spiritual dimension” through insight, discovery, or practical works. Its first recipient was Mother Teresa, in 1973.