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8jnaury20101Yesterday in Bodhgaya, His Holiness the Dalai Lama emphasized the important role the Tibetan language plays in preserving Buddhism, in a speech to people from the Himalayan region.

Addressing devotees from Ladakh, Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur, Sikkim, Bhutan and the Mon Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and Nepal, he urged them to learn Tibetan in their effort to understand and practice Buddhism, because of the difficulty involved in translating the Tibetan Buddhist texts into many local dialects.

He reasoned, "The preservation of Buddha's teachings and commentaries depend on language; to translate the Buddhist teachings available in Tibetan into many local dialects won't be easy. So, from the wide perspective, it is good idea to learn it in Tibetan language, sending the children from these regions to Tibetan schools in exile."

He stated that children from any of these ethnic groups who are interested in learning Tibetan could be arranged to enroll in Tibetan schools in India. As new Tibetan schools are built, these schools could accommodate many children from the Himalayan region, especially those who share similar Buddhist beliefs and culture.

The Tibetan religious leader commended efforts of the Sharpa and Tamang, two ethnic groups of Buddhist practitioners from the mountainous region of Nepal, to learn Buddhist teachings in their original language of Tibetan.

He added, "And Buddhist studies are not merely for monks and nuns; all laypeople, women and men, should study it [Buddhism]."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama also brought up the issue of the environment, advising his audience that, "it is very important to reduce deforestation and plant more trees in the Himalayan region." He reminded them that global warming is seriously affecting the Tibetan plateau and the entire Himalayan area.

His Holiness mentioned that in the last few decades, Tibet has experienced an increase in temperature higher than many other parts of the world. The average global temperature rise is said to have been 0.02 °C per decade, whereas it has been 0.03 °C per decade on the Tibetan plateau.

The warming of the plateau means that Tibet's glaciers are melting, which will trigger floods in the immediate future and droughts in the long run. Because Tibet is the source of most of Asia's major rivers, this will jeopardize not only the Himalayan region, but many of the other people on the world's most populated continent as well.

On the subject of Tibet's freedom struggle, he stated, "The Tibetan situation will definitely change, as truth can't be dissolved or erased. But we should also wish for the best and prepare for the worst. If the Tibetan situation stays like this, people from Himalayan region should inherit Tibetan Buddhism."

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