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Dalai Lama Donates £1.1m Templeton Prize Money To Save The Children

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DALAI LLAMA
Dalai Lama at the Templeton Award | Templeton Prize

Tibetan Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama is to donate the bulk of his Templeton Prize money to Save the Children, it was announced on Monday.

The 76-year-old religious leader received the £1.1m prize at St Paul's Cathedral in London.

His Holiness, the head monk of Tibetan Buddhism received the prize for his "engagement with science and with people far beyond his own religious traditions," the prize judges said.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, told a press conference upon receiving the prize:

"Brothers and sisters, I am very happy to receive this award. I always stress I am nothing special. I am a person simply, one of the 7bn human beings. Can you make some distinction, my nose, my eyes, my ears? I think everybody's the same here,” he smilingly told the conference.

"Unfortunately no third eye, that would be something special," he added, chuckling.

Going on to reassert his commitments to inner peace, he told his audience:

“I feel there is too much emphasis on economy, money. Every time you read the newspaper there is money, money, money. Money and power fail to bring inner peace.

“Whether you believe in religion or not, that is your own business, but we have to pay more attention to our inner life

“A family may be very rich, powerful, but if there is a lack of affection, and distrust or jealousy then it doesn't matter how rich and powerful the family, they will not be happy.”

His Holiness went on to explain his point, saying that after he won the prize, the first question they asked him at New Delhi, was how would he use that money.

He stressed that he knew he would never use the money for personal reasons, as he doesn't need the prize.

"I have all facilities provide by the Indian government, I have no family, just a single stomach here.”

He explained how he went about choosing the organisation to donate to, saying that he focussed on Save the Children as they "not only focus on taking care of their livelihood but taking care of their spirit as human being."

“I very much appreciate you choosing me," he told the panel of judges.

"I feel clear recognition about my activities. So thank you very much."

Jokingly he told the chair "Now that was less than 10 minutes. Now I do questions."

Arianna Huffington asked the Dalai Lama how he managed to maintain his extraordinary capacity for joy in spite of all the pain in the world.

His Holiness told her the same thing he told a woman who had approached him during his 9 hour flight from Delhi to London. The woman approached him with a picture of her son, who was very ill, and asked for blessing.

"She said she was very unhappy and had a strong feeling of hopelessness and I told her that self confidence is the key factor. The basis of self confidence is honest, truthful, warm heartedness. I always remain honest, truthful and transparent and sometimes a little bit blunt.

He said that through self confidence you can reduce fear and that way you can conquer unhappiness.

His Holiness was paid tribute to as a "incomparable global voice for universal ethics, nonviolence, and harmony among world religions" by Dr John M Templeton junior, whose father set up the foundation.

£934,000 of the prize money will go towards Save the Children's work with malnourished children in India.

He will donate 200,000 dollars (£124,500) to the Mind and Life Institute, an organisation promoting collaboration between science and spirituality. The remaining 75,000 dollars (£46,702) of the prize money will be used for funding science education for student monks in Tibetan monastic universities.

Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, said: "Save the Children is absolutely delighted. It is a huge honour to receive this humanitarian gift from the Dalai Lama."