“I believe that humans can get by without religion, but not without inner values, not without ethics. The difference between ethics and religion is like the difference between water and tea. Religion-based ethics and inner values are more like tea. The tea that we drink is made mostly of water, but it contains other ingredients as well – tea leaves, spices, perhaps a little sugar, and, at least in Tibet, a pinch of salt – and that makes it more substantial, more lasting, something we want to drink every day. Yet no matter how tea is prepared, its main ingredient is always water. We can live without tea, but not without water. Likewise, we are born without religion, but not without the basic need for compassion – and not without the fundamental need for water.”
Excerpt From: Dalai Lama, Franz Alt. “An Appeal by the Dalai Lama to the World – Ethics Are More Important Than Religion.” iBooks.
The Dalai Lama brings it to a simple analogy: Water is the main ingredient of tea even if we might be overwhelmed by the taste of the tea. But is the analogy right when applied to describe the relation between ethics and religion? A great question for a moral factory workshop!