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2015-Copenhagen-TibetCopenhagen: - The spiritual leader of Tibet His Holiness the Dalai Lama Tuesday said that "just as the Chinese love their culture, we Tibetans love our culture and language and seek to preserve them.'

His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with members of the Tibetan community and friends in Copenhagen, Denmark on Tuesday February 10, 2015.

"We have been in exile for nearly 56 years," he said, "which in the life of a people is not such a long time, but for one individual may seems long. The spirit of Tibetans in Tibet is still very strong."

A Chinese friend reported to me how tough they have become. This is because of the hard-line policies they encounter. It is this narrow-minded hard line that stokes their sense of being separate from the Chinese.

"Just as the Chinese love their culture, we Tibetans love our culture and language and seek to preserve them. Some Chinese have told me that 'although they also claim to follow the thought of Nagarjuna, they are unable to articulate it in the way it is clearly laid out in Tibetan."

"The Chinese also follow the Nalanda tradition, but not as rigorously as we do. While young Chinese today can't even read their classical Buddhist texts, we can elaborate the different philosophical points of view. This is something to be proud of."

His Holiness also recalled seeing the place in Xi'an where the Lhasa Jowo came from. There was an empty space where it used to sit. His Holiness says 'he saw too the place on the city wall that marked the point at which the Tibetan army stopped in 763CE when they occupied the city and installed their own Emperor.'

His Holiness observed that although 'Tibetan military power declined and the country fragmented politically, from a religious point of view Tibetans remained united.'

The spiritual leader of Tibet said "things are changing in China. There will be an opportunity for us to return to our homeland. We have all worked hard and that day will dawn. Do not lose heart."

His Holiness met with Buddhists, including monks, nuns and lay people from the Trondheim Buddhist Association in Trondeheim, Norway, where the association which brings together Buddhists from different countries included Thailand, Burma and Vietnam.

"Here we are on the northern edge of Europe. In Asia there are some Christians, but Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Laos and Cambodia, China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Tibet and Mongolia are traditionally Buddhist," he said.

I make no effort to propagate Buddhism, but I've come across missionaries in places like Mongolia. I told them it's very good if you can help these people, but they are Buddhist and trying to convert them is inappropriate.

"Nevertheless, I always tell Buddhists I meet that we should try to be 21st century Buddhists. Simply folding our hands and praying without understanding what the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha or the Four Noble Truths are isn't much help," His Holiness said.

"We need to know what cessation is and what the steps of the path are. We have no belief in a creator god, we are our own masters. But the Buddha cannot give us realization; he can only indicate the path by which we may pursue it ourselves," he added.

His Holiness said "this is why I tell our Chinese brothers and sisters, as well as Tibetans, that praying to Amitabha or reciting Mani is not enough. We need to understand the Buddha's teaching, so we have to study."

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