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Friday, April 22, 2011

Dalai Lama on Religious Diversity

If we view the world's religions from the widest possible viewpoint and examine their ultimate goal, we find that all of the major world religions, whether Christianity or Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, are dedicated to the achievement of permanent human happiness. They are all directed toward that goal. All religions emphasize the fact that the true follower must be honest and gentle, in other words, that a truly religious person must always strive to be a better human being. To this end, the different world religions teach different doctrines which will help transform the person. In this regard, all religions are the same, there is no conflict. This is something we must emphasize. We must consider the question of religious diversity from this viewpoint. And when we do, we find no conflict.
...Different kinds of food have different tastes: one may be very hot, one may be very sour, and one very sweet. They are opposite tastes, they conflict. But whether a dish is concocted to taste sweet, sour, or hot, it is nonetheless made in this way so as to taste good. Some people prefer very spicy, hot foods with a lot of chili peppers. Many Indians and Tibetans have a liking for such dishes. Others are very fond of bland tasting foods. It is a wonderful thing to have variety. It is an expression of individuality; it is a personal thing. Likewise, the variety of the different world religious philosophies is a very useful and beautiful thing. (p.13)
--from Answers: Discussions with Western Buddhists by the Dalai Lama, edited by Jose Ignacio Cabezon, published by Snow Lion Publications

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