Each year, The John Templeton Foundation, one of our founding benefactors and sponsor of the festival’s Big Ideas series, honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. Yesterday, the Templeton Foundation named the Dalai Lama winner of the 2012 Templeton Prize for his work at the intersection of science and religion—particularly in the field of neuroscience. “The history of Buddhism has always had development of Buddhist ideas in relation to its engagement with non-Buddhist traditions in India,” said Buddhist scholar Thupten Jinpa, principal translator to the Dalai Lama, speaking at the 2010 World Science Festival. “Buddhism prizes empiricism very highly, and empirical evidence and reason trumps scriptural authority.”
The annoucnement was made yesterday by the Templeton Prize offices in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
“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,” said Dr. John M. Templeton, Jr., president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation and son of the late Prize founder. “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.”
Here, Thupten Jinpa elaborates on the unique Buddhist relationship to scientific inquiry: