The laughing lama must be reading Beyond God! His latest book suggests we need to look beyond religion to find a “secular ethics.” Of course we do. Glad to see a world religious leader is finding enlightenment and speaking out. And, yes, I know, Buddhism is more a philosophy and practice than strictly a religion. Yet, this seems a significant step toward “the present world” (secular), coming back to earth from an imagined world “up there.”
“Today, however, any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate. What we need today is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be equally acceptable to those with faith and those without: a secular ethics.
This statement may seem strange coming from someone who from a very early age has lived as a monk in robes. Yet I see no contradiction here. My faith enjoins me to strive for the welfare and benefit of all sentient beings, and reaching out beyond my own tradition, to those of other religions and those of none, is entirely in keeping with this.
I am confident that it is both possible and worthwhile to attempt a new secular approach to universal ethics. . . .
Of course, all the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness, can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I believe the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics that is beyond religion.”