Dalai Lama congratulates Tutu on winning Templeton Prize

  • Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times, Dharamsala
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  • Updated: Apr 08, 2013 21:52 IST

Expressing delight over anti-apartheid champion and former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, winning the $ 1.7 million Templeton Prize for 2013, Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Monday congratulated his “close friend” and fellow noble laureate, hailing him for lifelong work in promoting “love and forgiveness.”

“I am very happy,” said the Dalai Lama while talking to the Hindustan Times at the Kangra airport before leaving on European tour. He is scheduled to deliver public talks besides teachings on Buddhism in Italy, Switzerland and the UK.

Maintaining that the prize was recognition of archbishop's contribution to society, the Dalai Lama said Tutu was not only a religious leader, but also participated in the South Africa's freedom struggle standing by Nelson Mandela.

“The Templeton prize to Tutu is a clear sign of recognition to his contribution. He is not only a religious leader, but also was involved with Nelson Mandela during the freedom struggle,” the Dalai Lama said, adding that after that he committed to reconciliation. “Wonderful work so my congratulations,” added the spiritual leader.

Tutu, 81, has been awarded the 2013 Templeton Prize for his work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness which has helped to liberate people around the world. Tutu rose to world prominence with his stalwart and successful opposition to South Africa's apartheid regime.

His broad calls to the common humanity began in 1970s when Tutu used positions within the church to focus global attention on the apartheid policies of South Africa's ruling minority.

After Nelson Mandela's release from prison in 1990 and subsequent election as president in the country's first multi-ethnic democratic elections, Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission employing a revolutionary and relentless policy of confession, forgiveness and resolution that helped shepherd his nation from institutionalised racial repression towards an egalitarian democracy.

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.

Archbishop is the third Templeton Prize laureate who has also won the Nobel Peace Prize after Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. Mother Teresa was the first recipient of Templeton Prize in 1973, while the Dalai Lama received the award last year.

“When you are in a crowd and you stand out from the crowd because it is usually because you are being carried on the shoulders of others,” Tutu said in response to receiving the prize in a video on the Templeton website.

“I want to acknowledge all wonderful people who accepted me as their leader at home and so to accept this prize, as it were, in a representative capacity,” he added. Tutu will receive the prize at a public ceremony at the Guildhall in London on May 21. Video highlights of both the ceremonies will be available on the prize website a few hours following each event.

An ardent support of the Tibetan freedom struggle, Tutu came to Dharamsala in February 2012 to meet the Dalai Lama.


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