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 On July 6th, we celebrate the birthday of our 2012 Templeton Prize Laureate, the Dalai Lama 


The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is a Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader whose engagement with multiple dimensions of science and with people far beyond his own religious traditions has made him an incomparable global voice for universal ethics, nonviolence, and harmony among world religions.

In celebration of his birthday, we look back at his acceptance speech at the 2012 Templeton Prize award ceremony. 

  • Dr. John M. Templeton, Jr. presents the 2012 Templeton Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, May 14, 2012. (Photo credit: Clifford Shirley/Templeton Prize)

“Irrespective whether you are poor or rich or powerful or educated or uneducated, from the birth we are already equipped with these immensely useful positive protection already here. So I have more opportunity to practice that because my own life passing through difficult period. So whenever I have opportunity I always share with people upon my own experience, so therefore this award I consider some kind of recognition about my own little positive contribution for a better kind of humanity, start from individual level, family level, then community level, that way. 

So now here, you are a few hundred people, each of you some friends, so we can multiply 10,000. Through that way 100,000. So please share, make clear, ultimate source of our mind, ultimate source of joyful life not depend on money, not depend on power but depend on inner value. That’s from birth, everybody’s equipped. So please make known our great potential inner source that I would like to see in you. 

And then religious harmony. I am Buddhist.  That is secondary level I am Buddhist.  I am Tibetan. Because today this is a conflict. Although I think the main reason, economy reasons, power reasons, but often use name of religion. So sometimes religion itself becoming a factor to right and causing problems, causing even conflict. It is very sad. Suppose there is quarrel, killing, in money matter, understandable. Power matter, yes, understandable. But never religion. How conflict? Really illogical. Religion, all major religious traditions talk of forgiveness on the basis of practice of love, compassion. So then our source supposed to provide us compassion, forgiveness, that itself fuel of fight, killing. Really? Medicine cause more illness? And what to do then? Medicine supposed to cure illness. Similarly, various religious tradition supposed to minimize this negative human emotion and increase positive emotion. But that itself sometimes is causing more problem. It’s very, very sad. 

Particularly at a time, in ancient time people remain isolated. That’s different questions. More or less independent, self-sufficient. Now today’s world not like that.  The economies are also heavily interdependent. The west needs east, east needs west, north needs west, south needs north, like that. Heavily interdependent. On top of that, environment issue. No matter how powerful one single nation is it cannot solve these problems. Entire humanity have to make effort, protection of environment. This is our only interest. 

So therefore, according to this reality, now full cooperation is highly necessary. In order to develop full cooperation we need friendship. Friendship entirely based on trust. Trust based on warm heartedness. Keep here negative sort of feeling and use nice words, smile face, won’t bring trust, won’t bring genuine friendship. Genuine friendship come only if you show genuine human affection, genuine concern of others’ wellbeing. That is the basis of developing friendship. Friendship is the basis of genuine cooperation. Sense of global responsibility. Regard entire seven billion human being as one humanity, then I think many problems we can solve through human way.”

— Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, 2012. Read the full speech. 

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on Accepting the Templeton Prize