“My father is from the Philippines, and my mother is Native American. I was a Catholic monk in Mexico, I lived in Morocco and I’ve been going to Paris every year since the 1970s.”
“I thought you might be a Buddhist monk.”
“Well, Dalai Lama is one of my favorite people. And so is Mahatma Gandhi. I also believe in Islam, and in social consciousness.
There is only one God. We just see God differently. We imagine God in different ways. People have made a mess out of religion and given it a bad name. When you look at the core of the actual teachings, they are very similar. The Ten Commandments, the Five Paths in Buddhism, the Pillars of Islam—they all constitute an ethical way of living.
You can also live ethically without religion. While traveling, I’ve met many people who didn’t believe in any religion, and they were so very nice; they were beautiful people. On the other hand, I’ve met people who claim to follow this or that, and when you talk to them you see that there is a lot of hatred in them. They don’t like this; they don’t like that. They don’t like these people; they don’t like those people.”
Portraits of Boston is a project of independent photographer Ivan Velinov. He is regularly sharing some of his favorite portraits with WBUR. Visit his website to see the hundreds of portraits he has taken on the streets of Boston.
This program aired on December 3, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.