Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dalai Lama Warns Against Hopelessness

Bishop of London Richard Chatres, The Dalai Lama & St. Paul's Cathedral
 Canon Pastor Rev. Michael Colclough

THE Dalai Lama is to give almost $1.6 million to Save the Children to help its work among starving children in India.

The 76-year-old exiled Tibetan spiritual leader is donating all his $1.8 million Templeton Prize to charity, including $1.5 million to Save the Children.

He will give $200,000 to the Mind and Life Institute, which promotes collaboration between science and spirituality. The remainder will fund science education for student Tibetan monks.

In a wider message, the Dalai Lama said yesterday that the economic crisis was "man-made", which means that the British people have the ability to overcome it so must not feel "hopeless". The recession was made by man, not by God, and "every effort" must be made to tackle the difficulties, he told a news conference at St Paul's Cathedral, London.

"We must make every effort to work on these things ... We need self-confidence, please do not feel helpless or hopeless."

The Dalai Lama was chosen to receive the Templeton Prize, created by the American-born investor and philanthropist John Templeton, who died in 2008, because of his work investigating the links between science and Buddhism as a way to understand better and advance what both disciplines might offer the world.

The John Templeton Foundation said that the Dalai Lama encouraged serious scientific investigative reviews of the "power of compassion" and its potential to address global problems. Dr John Templeton, its chairman, said: "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."

The Dalai Lama said he felt that the prize was in recognition of "my small service to humanity, in promoting non-violence, respect and harmony among the world's different religious traditions, and encouraging greater understanding between modern science and Buddhist science".

Asked if he would have joined the recent Occupy anticapitalism protest outside St Paul's, the Dalai Lama replied: "If their reasons and motivations are sincere, then I will join with them." He thought that the protests were justified as a way of bringing to light grievances which would otherwise have been ignored.

The Dalai Lama, born Tenzin Gyatso, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. Other Templeton Prizewinners include Mother Teresa in 1973, the first year it was awarded and the only other laureate also to win the Nobel.

Justin Forsyth, the chief executive of Save the Children, said that the Dalai Lama's gift was among the largest donations the charity had received. "We are honoured to accept this generous humanitarian gift, which will be used to save the lives of some of the world's most vulnerable children," he said.

By Ruth Gledhill, The Times, 5/15/12