Your Religion Is Not Important

Introduction. The following is a brief dialogue between  the Dalai Lama and Brazilian theologist Leonardo Boff, one of the renovators of the Theology of Freedom, as recounted by Boff:

Boff’s Narative.

“In a round table discussion about religion and freedom in which 
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 behavior in 
front of your peers, family, work, community, 
and in front of the world.”

“Remember, the universe is the echo of our actions and our  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 get 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 will become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they will 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
     … and …
“There is no religion higher than the Truth.”

You Tube presentation of this dialogue:


  1. Sid on May 21, 2010 at 9:52 pm


    I prefer to avoid the question of religion because it usually sets up standards of behavior and instead prefer spirituality which is concerned with liberation free from judgements and expectations.


  2. Ron Rattner on May 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm


    I’ve posted various quotes about religion from famous people with differing views.

    You might agree with Deepak Chopras statement that “Religion is confining and imprisoning and toxic because it is based on ideology and dogma. But spirituality is redeeming and universal.”


  3. Shanta Gabriel on May 27, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Thank you Ron for your thoughtful, insightful, and often hilarious sutras and deeply interesting commentary. I am so grateful for your meshing of the different belief systems to find common ground. I was delighted to see the op ed from the NY Times by the Dalai Lama, my personal hero. I loved it so much, I posted in on my web site.

    Good work Ron. Thank you again. Shanta

    • Ron Rattner on May 29, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks Shanta for your encouraging message. Silly Sutras visitors interested in more about what you say can visit your website