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On the subject of other religions, Rinpoche wrote in a letter to a student in 2013, “As His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, all religions that have conduct…as their main instruction are telling people to have a good heart [with] love and compassion for [all] living beings. That is the main focus, and it is the same for many religions. So the conclusion is the same, to generate loving kindness and compassion [for] others, to not harm [others] and to benefit others. It’s the same in Buddhism and the other major religions … I want to say the most important thing is to develop compassion for all living beings.”

Elsewhere, Rinpoche has explained, “There are many religions in the world, such as Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and so forth. These different religions are needed. It’s like having different clothes or different kinds of food in a restaurant; we need variety for different people. Christianity is needed for people who have the karma to devote themselves to Christianity. And Hinduism is needed for those who have the karma to devote themselves to Hinduism, and so forth. We must respect other religions…because many people in the world need Christianity and the other religions for their happiness. Therefore we must respect that.”

While we need to have deep respect for all religions, Buddhism—since we have the karma for it—is still tremendously precious. On the subject of Buddhist practice, Lama Zopa Rinpoche explained in 2012, “From the three principal aspects of the path to enlightenment we can realize all the paths of Buddhism. We can achieve not only temporary happiness but also the happiness of future lives and ultimate happiness: liberation from samsara and full enlightenment. We are so lucky that we have met these teachings.”


Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.

Reprinted from We Must Respect Other Religions published 1/9/2017