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6 january 2012 002Bodh Gaya, India: His Holiness the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorjee praised the 'genuine courage' of Tibetans living inside Tibet during a speech for Tibetan pilgrims on Thursday, January 5.

Addressing over 8,000 Tibetans at His Holiness the Dalai Lama's 32nd Kalachakra initiation in Bodhgaya, the 26-year-old Karmapa paid tribute to the 'strong minds and truth' of Tibetans living inside Tibet, and appealed to them to remain united.

'When I was in Tibet, every Tibetan was like me, but after I fled to India in 2000, I realized that Tibetans living inside Tibet have very strong minds and truth,' he said.

'Their courage is very genuine. They are true to themselves.  Tibetans come together and help each other when they face a problem.

'I have great admiration for them.'

Referring to Tibet's days of empire in the 6th and 7th centuries, when the country was one of Asia's most powerful , at which time Buddhism was first brought to Tibet, the Karmapa said: 'At that time, Tibet's economy, astrology and Buddhism were among the most developed of any country.

'We have been practicing Buddhism for well over 1,000 years, and now in the 21st century, thanks to the hard work of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we can again take pride in our religion. We have faced so many difficulties, but now Tibetans have reunited under His Holiness and we are able to maintain our traditions and culture as we did in the past.'

He continued: 'The main essence of Tibetan Buddhism is altruism, compassion, and non violence.

'I think it's very important that every Tibetan should be united. I have heard that sometimes some Tibetans kill each other for just small reasons. This is no time to do that.  My request is that you please don't do this, and live in harmony.

'If we have the same Tibetan cause on our minds we can face any obstacle. '

He added:  'We all have the same main objective; that His Holiness will be invited to Tibet, and that Tibetans living inside and outside Tibet can gather together.

'I have a strong belief that His Holiness will be invited to Tibet within his lifetime.

'I came to India almost 11 years ago and studied as hard as I could, but I still haven't forgotten you, and pray that I can serve Tibetans inside and outside of Tibet.

'From your side, I ask that you protect your lives, and preserve our religion and culture.'