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Dali Lama

The Dalai Lama, the Templeton Prize and Buddhism

On 14th May 2012, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Templeton Prize. So what is the Templeton Prize, and why did the Dalai Lama get it?

The 14th Dalai Lama

The Templeton Prize

The Templeton Prize was established in 1972 by American-born British billionaire Sir John Marks Templeton (1912–2008), who later set up the Templeton Foundation to fund the prize in perpetuity. This came to our attention a decade ago when we learned that the Templeton Foundation was paying Bible colleges around the world to run courses that taught theistic evolution. See Evangelical colleges paid to teach evolution. At that time the Templeton website said its Prize was awarded annually to

“a living individual who has shown extraordinary originality advancing the world’s understanding of God and/or spirituality.”2

“The Prize is intended to help people see the infinity of the Universal Spirit still creating the galaxies and all living things and the variety of ways in which the Creator is revealing himself to different people. We hope all religions may become more dynamic and inspirational.”3

After Sir John’s death, the revised Templeton website read:

“The Prize celebrates no particular faith tradition or notion of God, but rather the quest for progress in humanity’s efforts to comprehend the many and diverse manifestations of the Divine.”4

As such, the website announces that its Prize has been awarded to “representatives of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but also others as well”, i.e. to those who do not claim adherence to any of these religions. See Templeton Prize goes to evolutionist professor, and Templeton Prize goes to pantheist Darwinist.

The Templeton website originally said: “The Templeton Prize does not encourage syncretism … .” However, the awarding of the Prize this year would seem to be the epitome of this. The Dalai Lama is a ‘Buddhist atheist’ (he says he’s Buddhist, and that he doesn’t believe in God; hence ‘Buddhist atheist’). The website says he

“has vigorously focused on the connections between the investigative traditions of science and Buddhism as a way to better understand and advance what both disciplines might offer the world.”5

Nevertheless the presentation ceremony was held in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. It was preceded by a period of chanting by eight Buddhist monks, before he was welcomed by the Canon of St Paul’s, with the Bishop of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury in support.

The Dalai Lama

The 14th Dalai Lama6 is a man by the name of Tenzin Gyatso (né Lhamo Dondrub, 1935– ). Since 1950, he has been the leader of the dominant sect of Tibetan Buddhists, who believe him to be a reincarnation of an ancient Buddhist leader, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.7 However, concerning himself, the Dalai Lama says: “I am just a human being.”8

In 1950, Communist China took over Tibet. After the Communists brutally crushed a Tibetan uprising in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India. He was awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize “in recognition of his nonviolent campaign over nearly 40 years to end China’s domination of his homeland”.9 He is the first Dalai Lama to have come into full contact with Western science and technology.

He has written some 70 books in which he reiterates that as a Buddhist he does not believe in a transcendent Creator God who is the uncaused first cause, nor that Jesus Christ was this God incarnate. He thus does not believe that mankind is in rebellion against God and hence under divine Judgment from which we need a Saviour, or that Jesus Christ is that Saviour. He tells us: “My own worldview is grounded in the philosophy and teachings of Buddhism, which arose within the intellectual milieu of ancient India.”10,11

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