Dharamshala — The spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama again topped the 2016 list of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People, published by Watkins' Mind Body Spirit magazine.
Presented annually since 2011 in the spring issue of the quarterly publication, the list – also known as the Spiritual 100 – compiles the most spiritually prominent people of the past year.
"We are delighted to share with you Watkins' 2016 list of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People – spiritual teachers, activists, authors and thinkers that change the world," the magazine said.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was recognised in front of Pope Francis and South African retired Anglican bishop Desmond Tutu who were placed second and third respectively. Others listed include German spiritual teacher and writer Eckhart Tolle (fourth), Indian American author and public speaker Deepak Chopra (fifth), Brazilian novelist and author of The Alchemist Paulo Coelho (sixth), American novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist Alice Malsenior Walker (Seventh), Australian television writer and producer Rhonda Byrne (eighth), Chilean filmmaker and director of El Topo Alejandro Jodorowsky (Nineth), American talk show host Oprah Winfrey (tenth), Greek American author and co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post- Arianna Huffington (fifteenth) and British author and commentator known for her books on comparative religion Karen Armstrong (twentith).
The Magazine also said that "there are plenty of newcomers on this year's list including the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, physicist and environmental activist Vandana Shiva and poet and philosopher Mark Nepo."
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
This is just one of the many often-quoted statements from His Holiness the Dalai Lama that continue to land him on top of global lists of influential and inspiring world religious leaders. For several years now, Watkins Magazine has placed the Tibetan spiritual leader at the top of their list of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People. He was #1 in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012. In their 2016 list, published earlier this month, the Tibetan spiritual leader is once again #1.
#21. Jon Kabat-Zinn: Also not a Buddhist per se, but Kabat-Zinn did study with a number of Buddhist teachers before developing the now wide-spread Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
#25. Sam Harris: One of the “Four Horsemen” of New Atheism, has taken up the practice of vipassana, derived from the early Buddhist tradition, and even teaches it – stripped of aspects he considers religious.
#34. Daniel Goleman: A well known psychologist and long time scholar of meditation who has worked closely with the Dalai Lama for over a decade. One of his breakthrough books was Emotional Intelligence (1995), and later works include Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama (2003) and Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence (2015).
#36 is Gary Snyder, #38 is Pema Chödrön, #50 is Robert Thurman, #65 is Thich Nhat Hanh, #66 is Jack Kornfield, #68 is Ajahn Brahm, #78 is Tara Brach, #82 is Huston Smith (another wonderful scholar of many world religions, including Buddhism), #89 is Richard Gere, #95 is Sogyal Rinpoche, and #99 is Sharon Salzberg.
The magazine states that the list is compiled based on three factors: "1. The person has to be alive as of January 1st, 2016. 2. The person has to have made a unique and spiritual contribution on a global scale. 3. The person is frequently googled, appears in Nielsen Data, and is actively talked about throughout the Internet."
"By taking into account the amount of times that a person is googled or how many times their Wikipedia profile is viewed, the list gains a highly democratic parameter. In a sense, being googled is a form of digital voting, and illustrates just how often someone is being sought out," it added.
According to Mind Body Spirit, the list is not a competition but "is meant to celebrate the positive influence of contemporary spiritual teachers."
Watkins Mind Body and Spirit magazine is sold and published by Watkins Books, England's oldest and largest esoteric bookshop that has been trading since 1893.