Don't switch to Buddhism, Dalai Lama tells French

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Wednesday advised believers from other religions against converting to Buddhism.

The Dalai Lama, in France for a series of conferences, told France Inter radio that people were better off sticking with the religion they grew up with.

"In the 1960s I met people who had changed religion and then, later in their lives, experienced many problems because of that," the Buddhist leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner said.

"I also met a young Tibetan woman who said 'I've become a Christian in this life but I will be a Buddhist again in the next life'," he said.

"So I think it is best, if one is a believer, to keep the religion with which one was brought up, which one is used to, which is familiar," the Dalai Lama concluded.

French media have reported an upswing in interest in Buddhism in France -- traditionally a Roman Catholic country but with a five-million-strong Muslim population -- which is thought to be linked to disenchantment with established religions.