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The Dalai Lama, who just celebrated his 76th birthday, is in Washington, D.C., for a ten-day event promoting peace. He has written:

“I have come to the conclusion that whether or not a person is a religious believer does not matter much. Far more important is that they be a good human being.”. . . “That is why I sometimes say that religion is something we can perhaps do without.”

It seems many in the West agree with the spiritual leader, as millions report that they incorporate Buddhist practices such as meditation or mindfulness into their own spiritual activities without necessarily adopting Buddhism as their religion.

Does religion aid or hinder the spiritual journey? Evangelical Christians might respond that it’s “religion” that has driven them out of the mainline denominations — that there’s a vast difference between personal faith and empty religiosity.

But in honor of the Dalai Lama’s birthday, what do you think? Can you practice Buddhism without becoming Buddhist?

CLICK HERE to read what Washington Post writers say

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