I wonder if The Dalai Lama thinks Buddhism is a religion. Some Buddhists apparently don't.
Buddhism was my special interest just prior to declaring myself an atheist. I did not regard it as a religion at all. Of the two schools, Theravada is the least theistic, the Mahayanas having their theory that certain saints can be liberated from the Wheel of Life because of their perfection yet choose to come back to help others -- how silly. But as a system of ethics, Buddhism is superior to anything in the monotheisms and Christianity in particular. Instead of "sin" it posits "error," thereby avoiding all that ridiculous business about foregiveness and salvation through a personal deity. I still keep much of what I learned from Buddhism part of my personal code.
But this is why he can say, "the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate." As for grounding ethics in Buddhism... Don't see the irony?
By the way, Buddhism is a religion even if it is not monotheistic. It is a belief system with a hierarchical social and spiritual guidance aspect.