9. The Dalai Lama and Religious Diversity
Abraham Vélez de Cea [+]
Eastern Kentucky University
The chapter introduces the Dalai Lama’s approach to religious diversity as formulated in Towards True Kinship of Faiths: How the World’s Religions Can Come Together. The first part explains the Dalai Lama’s ideal of interreligious harmony and the means to achieve it. Interreligious harmony requires various types of dialogue and the acknowledgment of fundamental differences among the religions. In order to achieve the ideal of interreligious harmony it is also necessary a balance between respectful acceptance of religious diversity and faithful commitment to one’s own tradition. The means to attain such balance is to uphold with integrity two distinct perspectives: the exclusivist perspective “one truth, one religion” in the context of individual practice, and the pluralist perspective “many truths, many religions” in the context of social interreligious relationships. The second part provides a sympathetic yet critical assessment of the Dalai Lama’s approach to religious diversity. It is argued that while the Dalai Lama’s proposal offers a robust foundation for accepting religious diversity, such acceptance is problematic because it is limited to the level of ethical teachings and confined to the context of social interactions.