Thoughts on the 2012 Templeton Prize Ceremony

Tibet activist and head of the Shine a Light on Tibet group in Northampton, Caroline Scattergood,sent us the following article she wrote after attending the Templeton Prize Ceremony on 14 May 2012. We liked it so much we asked Caroline if we could share it. She gladly gave permission, and what better day to post it than the Dalai Lama’s birthday!

Thoughts on the 2012 Templeton Prize Ceremony honouring His Holiness the Dalai Lama – Tenzin Gyatso

By Caroline Scattergood

What better place could there be than St Paul’s Cathedral to award this Holy, Heroic, Gentle man of peace, introduced as a ‘Charismatic Icon’.

Arriving at St Paul’s, an hour before the doors opened, and standing in an extremely cold wind and with rain beating down, my own selfish heart sank as I shivered and worried about my hair getting wet. Not a very spiritual, selfless moment!

This soon changed as I noticed I was surrounded by Tibetan people whose faces were glowing like the sun. The toddler’s and children’s warmth for this honoured occasion shone through the gloom. I was reminded of the courage of this Nation of people and the thousands that had crossed the Himalayas to escape persecution in Tibet to be near His Holiness in India.

Our seats were a long way from the front but, embraced by the Tibetan People’s excitement, it didn’t matter. We were all rewarded as the Dalai Lama and Dr John Templeton Jr. walked down the aisle. They passed within touching distance and you were engulfed in a surge of love from the hearts and smiles of the Tibetan people, many with eyes tinged with tears.

It is a great honour to receive the “Templeton Tree of Life” Medallion which is regarded as all nourishing and reflects a link between heaven and earth. It was in 1972 that the late Sir John Templeton created this prize for progress in religion to identify entrepreneurs of the spirit. His son, Dr John Templeton, presented the prize of £ 1,100,000 saying that His Holiness offers a universal voice of compassion that encompasses all human beings.

Humour twinkled throughout the Dalai Lama’s acceptance speech as he gave most of the prize money as a gift to Save the Children of India – a country that had opened their doors and hearts to him and his people over 50 years ago when they fled from their beloved Tibet.

This was followed by world class singer Jessye Norman with a rendition of “He’s got the whole world in his hands”. He certainly had the 2,000 people in St Paul’s his hands.

What will continue to resonate in our hearts was the Dalai Lama’s compassion for all sentient beings and his magic way of building spiritual bridges.

The late Sir John Templeton would always say, “I love you all”, and as the guests left the Cathedral, it wasn’t difficult to imagine a world that embraces the Tibetan People’s cultural of spiritual teachings – compassion, tolerance, generosity, gentleness, humour, and the acceptance of all sentient beings and their beliefs.

If we could only embrace the Dalai Lama’s message of :

No them.
Just us.
A oneness of spirit…

…then the future for all our children and our children’s children would be bright indeed.

It was an honour to stand alongside the Tibetan Community who, even if they have little, will give of their hearts.

Tibet will be Free
Tashe delek

Watch video of the Templeton Prize Ceremony and read more at


About tibetsociety

Founded in 1959, within weeks of the flight of the Dalai Lama from Tibet following the uprising against China's occupation, Tibet Society became the world’s first ever Tibet support group. Today, Tibet Society continues to work for the freedom of the Tibetan people and their right to self-determination.
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One Response to Thoughts on the 2012 Templeton Prize Ceremony

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