Cash Award Dedicated to The Mind & Life Institute to Bridge Scientific Research of the Mind with Contemplative Traditions
(Hadley, MA) October 26th – The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet was honored at the National Constitution Center on Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia today, receiving the 2015 Liberty Medal in recognition of his advocacy for human rights worldwide. The Liberty Medal established in 1988, annually honors men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe. The Dalai Lama donated the gift of $100,000 that comes with the award to the Mind & Life Institute for its ongoing work in exploring a scientific understanding of the human mind and its potential, and in building the field of contemplative studies.
“It is a tremendous honor and privilege to receive the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in the historic city of Philadelphia,” said His Holiness. “I am delighted as a recipient to be in the company of so many other inspirational leaders. I have made it my life’s work to spread the message of kindness and compassion and I can think of no better place to be recognized than in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”
Following a video greeting from former President George W. Bush, actor, activist, and philanthropist Richard Gere spoke on behalf of the Dalai Lama’s achievements and presented a video tribute to His Holiness. Additional participants in the Liberty Medal Ceremony included neuroscientist Richard Davidson, board member of the Mind and Life Institute, Carolyn Jacobs, interim president of the Mind and Life Institute, Thupten Jinpa, the principal English translator to the Dalai Lama and board Chair of the Mind & Life Institute, Mayor Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, and the Tibetan Children’s Choir.
“We are very honored to be able to receive this prestigious award on behalf of His Holiness,” said Thupten Jinpa, Mind and Life board Chair. National Constitution Center president and CEO Jeffrey Rosen added, “In his advocacy for Tibetans and for human rights worldwide, the Dalai Lama has always emphasized the ideals of freedom, dialogue, and tolerance. For this reason he embodies the spirit of the Liberty Medal, which aims to honor men and women who strive to secure such blessings of liberty to people around the globe.”
About the Dalai Lama
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is a Buddhist monk and the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born in northeastern Tibet and at the age of two was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. He began his monastic education at age six, and at age 23, passed his final examination with honors, receiving the highest-level degree, equivalent to a doctorate of Buddhist philosophy. He was called to assume full political power in 1950. He presented a draft democratic constitution for Tibet in 1963, which was followed by reforms resulting in a charter enshrining freedom of speech, belief, assembly and movement.
He is an advocate for greater global equality and the equal rights of all people to peace, happiness, freedom, equality and dignity. In his work, His Holiness has consistently promoted dialogue in seeking solutions to problems, and has criticized censorship for its role in preventing the progression of ideas. He has advocated for and participated in the idea of interfaith dialogue and tolerance, pointing out that all major religions convey the same message of love, compassion, forgiveness, and tolerance.
About the Mind & Life Institute
The Mind & Life Institute is committed to building a scientific understanding of the mind as a way to help reduce suffering and to promote human flourishing. They do this by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue between western science, philosophy, humanities, and contemplative traditions and by supporting the integration of first-person inquiry through meditation and other contemplative practices into traditional scientific methodology. This approach is designed to facilitate the investigation of an individual’s subjective experience in a rigorous, scientific way. For more information, visit mindandlife.org.
About the Liberty Medal
The Liberty Medal was established in 1988 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Given annually, the medal honors men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe. Six recipients of the Medal subsequently have won the Nobel Peace Prize.
About the National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia inspires active citizenship as the place where people across America and around the world can come together to learn about, debate, and celebrate the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. They serve as America’s leading platform for constitutional education and debate, fulfilling the Congressional charter “to disseminate information about the U.S. Constitution on a non-partisan basis.” For more information, constitutioncenter.org.