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The Dalai Lama on Religious Tolerance

June 20th, 2010 · Posted by Hugo · 8 Comments

In Many Faiths, One Truth, an op-ed in the NY Times, the Dalai Lama (a Buddhist leader of religious officials of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism) calls for religious tolerance, for finding common ground among faiths, bridging needless divides at a time when unified action is more crucial than ever.

I couldn’t agree more. I think pluralism is the only way forward. ;) Rather let me rephrase, it is an essential ingredient in our way forward. I easily become a fan of any religious leader that persistently encourages openness to the good found in traditions not their own.

Let me not detract from the article with further commentary just yet. Go read it.

Categories: Worldviews
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8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hugo // Jun 22, 2010 at 10:16 am

    For interest’s sake, only tangentially related to this post, a friend shared the article On disagreeing with the Dalai Lama on Facebook. Skim-read it, looks good, as do the two comments currently there.

  • 2 Ben-Jammin' // Jul 14, 2010 at 2:47 am

    “I’m a firm believer in the power of personal contact to bridge differences, so I’ve long been drawn to dialogues with people of other religious outlooks.”

    I deliberately went from ignoring religious people to interacting with them starting around 2005. Personal contact has moved me from apathy to great hostility…probably not what the Dalai Lama had in mind. :)

  • 3 Chris la Grange // Jul 19, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Hi Guys. Do any of you know if there are any ‘freethinking’ get togethers in Stellenbosch ?

  • 4 Hugo // Jul 19, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Chris, are you on Facebook? There is a Freethinking Maties group which may be of interest to you.

  • 5 Chris la Grange // Jul 19, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Hugo,

    yes, just joined it, but do they still officialy exist?. Are the Gino’s get togethers still happening on Thursdays?

  • 6 Hugo // Jul 19, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I’m a bit out of the loop I’m afraid. But from my view of the world it looks like they last announced a meeting back in May. “Sceptics in the Pub – Wednesday 5 May at 18.00 – Gino’s, Dorp Street – Anyone welcome, see you there!” I’ll see if I can find out how it’s going.

  • 7 Hugo // Jul 19, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Back on-topic, Ben-Jammin’, no, I guess you’re right, probably not what the Dalai Lama had in mind. :-P

  • 8 Hennie // Aug 1, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I like the Dalai Lama. Unlike Papa Ratzi, he manages to actually promote peace and understanding where he goes. Also, he manages not to be overly doctrinaire as far as I can tell.

    If pluralism is going to work, religious leaders have to be able to articulate why we should bother with religion at all. Argument from authority is slowly starting to lose strength (I hope), and getting a free pass on self-justification hasn’t been good for religions anyway. If anything is going to save, for example, Christianity, the collapse of Christendom is probably a step in the right direction.

    Approaches like NOMA (non-overlapping magisteria) are pretty much doomed in my opinion. Simply declaring that some questions admit only religious or scientific answers ends up causing a siege mentality in the “religious”, and theological races to the bottom (like the various fundamentalisms) seem inevitable. I hope that this leads to an exploration of the language used in various faith traditions, which I feel are actually quite valuable when the role of the language is properly understood. A good sign to look for in a faith leader, in my opinion, is whether they can express themselves well using the language of another faith tradition. I don’t think this is necessary (or sufficient for that matter), but it does seem to point to a deeper understanding that is hard for fundie types to emulate. This is where pluralism may prove to be very helpful.

    What constitutes a proper faith tradition is another matter entirely of course (or the possibility of one for that matter ;) ). If there is a place for religion that couldn’t be occupied by philosophy or science, where would that be?

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