The Dalai Lama speaking on religion, channeling the Talmud and Heraclitus
A fascinating conversation that had taken place recently at an inter-religious conference between the Dalai Lama and the prominent Brazilian liberation theologian Leonardo Boff, as recorded by the latter.
In his record of the conversation, Leonardo Boff confesses to a certain “malice” when he asked “what is the best religion?” The Dalai Lama, refusing to fall into the trap of religious prejudice, said “the best religion is the one that gets you closer to God and makes you a better person.” Expanding on that, he says “whatever makes you more compassionate, more sensible.. more loving, more responsible. The religion that will do that for you is the best religion, for you.” Clearly on a roll, His Holiness adds, “I am not interested, my friend, in your religion, or if you are religious or not. What is important to me is your behavior with your peers, family, work, community and in front of the world.”
Having stated his unequivocal support for religious tolerance, The Dalai Lama then articulates the classic Buddhist teachings on karma: “Remember, the universe is (or contains) the echo of our actions and our thoughts. The law of action and reaction is not limited to physics, but applies also to human relations. If I act with goodness, I will receive goodness. If I act with evil, I will receive evil. You always receive what you wish for toward others.”
The Dalai Lama then proceeds to make the following series of statements – which, to my amazement, I unexpectedly found (in an anthology) correspond exactly to a passage from the Talmud.
Take care of your thoughts, because they will 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 become your character.
Take care of your character, for it will form your destiny – and your destiny is your life.