That soul word and concept, yes, confusing and especially so when HHDL himself uses the word soul and lately I have read where Glen H. Mullin uses the word soul also, in his book, "The Fourteen DALAI LAMAS."
While my teacher was alive I asked why this word was used. We westerners who have been raised with such a concept do find it difficult to get over and once there, it is even more confusing to find it used in Buddhist writing. The reply I received was that this word 'soul' best conveys a concept that westerners can relate to; that comes closest to that continuum to which karma attaches and is worked out thru.
So, one can hardly fault a reporter for not understanding or for using those words that convey other ideas altogether for it is indeed difficult to shake those ideas with which we have been raised. Many Buddhist discussions on forums are to be found on this exact topic. Many budding Buddhists find it hard to understand a difference between soul and not soul - self/no self etc.
An eclectic yogi I know who uses methods from several traditions in his practice, who does call himself a JewBu is still a theist at heart and denies any other possibility. Much similar to the tale of the monks who could not remember the correct version of a mantra and followed after the departing master to ask once more, who were told to carry on just as they were as their practice was working to get them to the other shore, indeed without a boat as the practitioners walked back to their island.
I did my futile best to suggest other views only to be told I was being contentious.
HHDL says that switching religions is not required and can be detrimental which is one reason Buddhists do not proselytize I suppose.
My friend has a wonderful practice that I equate with Gnondro in a way and I do nothing to disturb his mind from it.
So, yes, it is hard to get but Houston Smith got it I gathered from an interview I heard recently where he decried the vacuity of atheism while including Buddhism as a worthy tradition alongside his theistic beliefs. A belief in something greater than man as he appears on earth.
Gosh, now to get to the article!