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himalayaDharamshala: Tibet's spiritual and political leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his gratitude to the people of the Himalayan region for their efforts in preserving Tibet's cultural heritage, which he said is facing destruction under the Chinese government's wrong policy, on Thursday, 13 January 2010 in Varanasi, India.

His Holiness was speaking to an exclusive gathering of over 7,000 Buddhist devotees from the Himalyan regions of Ladakh, Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Nepal, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, and Sikkim.

His Holiness described genuine autonomy as the solution to the survival of Tibet. "The issue of Tibet is not only political, but also related with Buddhism. The latter cannot exist unless Tibet gets freedom on genuine autonomy. The Chinese government last year tried to bring about an education policy to teach all subjects in Chinese, thereby making Tibetan language ineffective. The Tibetan culture is rooted in its language and to weaken the source of Tibet's religion and culture is a long-term malicious intention."

His Holiness commended the growing number of students from India's Himalayan region such as Ladakh, Kinnaur, Tawang and others joining Tibetan monasteries in India to study Buddhism.

His Holiness recounted how in earlier times people of the Himalayan regions faced great difficulties to go to faraway Tibet for study. "It is good for them that Tibetans are in exile, as they get easy access to many Tibetan Buddhist learning centres in India," he said.

His Holiness emphasised the importance of developing inner values along the material progress. "Even scientists are showing keen interest on moral ethics as the need of today's world," he said.

His Holiness told the devotees to study Buddha's teachings to bring positive changes within themselves.

He also told them follow and preserve one's own ancestral Buddhist religion.

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