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A dialogue with the Dalai Lama

January 11, 2012
A brief dialogue between a Brazilian theologist, Leonardo Boff and the Dalai Lama:
(Leonardo is one of the renovators of the Theology of Freedom).

In a round table discussion about religion and freedom in which the Dalai Lama and myself were participating at recess I maliciously, and also with interest, asked him:“Your holiness, what is the best religion?”

I thought he would say:

“The Tibetan Buddhism” or “The oriental religions, much older than Christianity.”

Dalai Lama paused, smiled and looked me in the eyes, which surprised me because I knew of the malice contained in my question.

He answered:
“The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. It is the one that makes you a better person.”

To get out of my embarrassment with such a wise answer, I asked:

“What is it that makes me better?”

He responded:

“Whatever makes you
More compassionate,
More sensible,
More detached,
More loving,
More humanitarian,
More responsible,
More ethical.
The religion that will do that for you is the best religion.”

I was silent for a moment marveling and even today thinking of his wise and irrefutable response:

“I am not interested, my friend, about your religion or if you are religious or not. What really is important to me is your behaviour in front of your peers, family, work, community, and in front of the world.
Remember, the Universe is the echo of your actions and your thoughts. The law of action and reaction is not exclusively for physics. It is also of human relations.
If I act with goodness, I will receive goodness.
If I act with evil, I will receive evil.
What our grandparents told us is the pure truth.
You will always have what you desire for others.
Being happy is not a matter of destiny,
It is a matter of options.

Finally he said:
Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
Take care of your Words because they become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they become Habits.
Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character.
Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny
And your Destiny will be your Life
There is no religion higher than the Truth.”

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