The Dalai Lama

Buddhism, Christianity, and the Prospects for World Religion


1.       Editor’s summary

          a.       The Dalai Lama does not think Christianity and Buddhism can be integrated

          b.       Unique features of these religions can’t be compromised w/o loss of identity

          c.       Still, all major religions have much in common

                    i.        Same goal of permanent happiness and encourage moral integrity

                    ii.       Allow people of all faiths to find common ground in building a world of peace and justice


2.       Type of integration not plausible: A composite religion which is neither pure Buddhism nor pure Christianity
a. Is this what Hick believes might happen in the future?


3.       Other types of integration possible

          a.       E.g., a Christian could train in meditation


4.       No conflict on this point: All major religions aim a human happiness, true religious follower must be gentle and honest, and strive to be a better human being

          a.       Each have their own paths for this transformation


5.       Is philosophical/doctrinal disagreement on idea of God

          a.       Christians see God as the creator, almighty and permanent

          b.       Contradicts Buddhist teaching that universe has no first cause, no creator and there can’t be such a thing as a permanent primordial pure being

          c.       Buddhists also believe that Buddahood, the ultimate goal, is a state of the individual’s mind

                    i.        Unlike Christianity which thinks of union with another being.

          d.       Still purpose of these different philosophies the same (slavation)


6.       Food analogy

          a.       Different foods have different tastes

          b.       Some hot, some sour, some very sweet–opposite, conflicting tastes

          c.       Still, all dishes are made to taste good

          d.       Some people prefer spicy hot food and others bland tasting food

          e.       Variety is wonderful and personal and allows expression of individuality

7.       Variety of different religions is a useful and beautiful thing

          a.       For some, the idea of God as creator and that everything depends on his will is beneficial and soothing and worthwhile

          b.       Someone else likes idea there is no creator, that ultimately one is oneself the creator, that everything depends upon oneself

          c.       Different ways; some more effective for spiritual growth


8.       The Dalai Lama’s exclusivism

          a.       While it is true that teachers/adherents of other religions cannot attain “liberation”(from the cycle of death and rebirth) w/o turning to the Buddhist path

          b.       Other religions have other conceptions of salvation (a beautiful paradise) and to achieve this the Buddhist path is not the only one

          c.       He does not say if liberation is more important than these other types of salvation, but probably does think this

          d.       There is lots of time to be reborn and eventually reach the goal of liberation; no hurry

9.       The Dalai Lama does not believe in trying to convert others to Buddhism

          a.       He would advise people to follow their own religion

                    i.        To genuinely and sincerely follow their own beliefs

          b.       If they do they will reap benefits and achieve satisfaction and happiness

          c.       If we try to convert them, we will instill doubts about their own faith and this will not be good for them


          d.       “If you find you agree with me and you find some value in what I have said, then it has been worthwhile”

Question: Why shouldn't you try to convert others if you think they are not on the best path? Less important for Buddhism, as there are other lives where they will get the chance again.


10.     Comparative study of religions is the best way to find a religion most suitable to oneself (assuming one is dissatisfied with the religion of one’s upbringing).