His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the Kalachakra gathering after being honoured with the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Reconciliation and Peace in Bodh Gaya on January 4, 2012. (Phayul file photo/Norbu Wangyal)
DHARAMSHALA, May 10: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama is scheduled to receive the 2012 Templeton Prize, one of the world's biggest monetary awards, in a ceremony at Saint Paul's Cathedral in London on May 14, organisers said on Wednesday.
The exiled Tibetan leader will receive the £1.1 million (about $1.7 million) prize for his work in encouraging scientific research and harmony among religions; the latter being one of the Dalai Lama’s three main commitments.
"The ceremony will celebrate his long-standing engagement with multiple dimensions of science and with people far beyond his own religious traditions, which made him an incomparable global voice for universal ethics, non-violence and harmony among world religions," organisers said.
The event will be attended by thousands and webcast live at www.templetonprize.org along with a news conference with the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is expected to announce where the money will go at the ceremony.
"This is another sign of recognition about my little service to humanity, mainly non-violence and unity around different religious traditions," the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate said in a video message released earlier.
"I totally dedicated my life to bring a more close understanding among these different religious traditions.
"We must use our common sense from our past experience. Whenever we face a problem we have to find a non-violent way to solve that problem."
The Dalai Lama, will receive the prize from John M. Templeton, the president and chairman of the Pennsylvania-based John Templeton Foundation.
"The Dalai Lama offers a universal voice of compassion underpinned by a love and respect for spiritually relevant scientific research that centers on every single human being," John Templeton earlier said while announcing the award.
In its announcement, the foundation noted "the rigorous commitment of Buddhists to meditative investment and reflection similarly follows the strict rules of investigation, proof and evidence required of science."
In his recommendation to the awards committee, Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote: "More than any other living human being, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has served humanity to catalyze the advancement of 'spiritual progress' and to help us all to cultivate a better understanding of the spiritual dimensions of human experience."
The Dalai Lama is the second Templeton Prize laureate who has also won the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother Teresa won the first Templeton, in 1973.
Established in 1972, the Prize is a cornerstone of the John Templeton Foundation’s international efforts to serve as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.
The monetary value of the prize is set always to exceed the Nobel Prizes to underscore Templeton's belief that benefits from discoveries that illuminate spiritual questions can be quantifiably more vast than those from other worthy human endeavors.