Survive without what? Without beliefs? If he is saying that people can live without believing in one of the "major" religions, then yes, he is right. People, as a rule, can and will believe all kinds of things, and none of those beliefs necessarily must align with any "specific" religion.
If he is saying that people don't need to have beliefs, that is contrary to our very natures. We all believe something, and we follow those beliefs. Now, I suppose that you could say that having a set of beliefs is not the same thing as believing a religion, but really, what is the difference? In general, every religion gives us specific beliefs, and specific standards, and specific cultural norms. But how is that different from saying, "I don't believe in religion." Even that is a position that you believe, and out of it, you have developed your own set of standards and norms.
All of us have a moral code that comes from the faith we hold. Take an example: Is universal health care right or wrong? You might answer that question from the standpoint of a specific religion, or you might have an answer based on your political views or your economic views. No matter how you answer the question, you do so out of what you believe - whether those beliefs were given to you by some religion, or you developed them on your own. If you take your views and organize them in such a way that they answer ALL the questions of life, you suddenly have a religion. Look at L. Ron Hubbard. He was a science fiction writer who put all of his beliefs together to start his own religion, which I can't name because it might look like an advertisement.
I guess that what I believe is that we need to clarify the Dalai Lama's statement.