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Tibet-Mongolia-Buddhism-Dalai-Lama-2016Ulaanbaatar — The spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with members of the Mongolian media, concluding his ninth trip to Mongolia on November 23rd.

At his guest house with 50 reporters, His Holiness began, "as for Tibet and Mongolia, we have had close relations for well over 1000 years—even before Buddhism was introduced in our two countries, I am sure we responded to each other like neighbors. The Tibetan and Mongolian peoples are like twin brothers and sisters. We have the blue birthmark on our behinds in common.

"Both peoples uphold the practice of Buddhism as taught by the great Nalanda masters. In my various meetings and talks over the past four days, I have stressed that since Mongolia has many monasteries and temples it is very important for monks, and lay people too, to study what the Buddha taught.

"These days there are several hundred Mongolian monk students studying in the Tibetan monasteries that have been re-established in India. Some have already been studying for 15 to 20 years and are preparing to obtain their Geshe degrees. I am confident these monks will be well able to serve the Buddha dharma here in Mongolia".

Concerning the reincarnation of the 9th Jetsun Dhampa, the third highest lama of the Geluk lineage, His Holiness told the reporters,

"Previous Jetsun Dhampas have been close to the Dalai Lamas in the past. I knew the 9th Jetsun Dhampa from childhood. As the time of his death approached, he asked me where and when he should pass away, which surprised me a little. However, during our last meeting, when he was already in poor health, I told him that it was important for him to be reborn in Mongolia. Considering the significance of his reincarnation and bearing in mind that he is a personal friend, I feel I have a responsibility to look after his reincarnation.

"I am convinced that his reincarnation has been born in Mongolia. However, the boy is very young right now, so there is no need for haste in making an announcement. When he is 3, 4 or 5 years old, we'll see how things are. Placing a small child on a high throne is not what's important. What is much more important is that he is able to study and become learned so he will be able to contribute to the flourishing of the Buddha dharma."

When asked about the complaints from the Chinese government regarding his trip to Mongolia, His Holiness replied, "This is just the usual Chinese government routine. Japan and Mongolia are the only two Buddhist countries I am able to visit. There are more than 400 million Buddhists in China. Many of them ask me to visit them there. Meanwhile, Chinese government propaganda accuses me of being a separatist."

"The reality is that since 1974 I have not sought independence, but what I am looking for is genuine autonomy. Many Chinese and many more in the wider world know this. There are even some Tibetans who criticize me for not seeking independence. But right from the start I have been concerned that we should not be striving for the victory of one side and the complete defeat of the other. We need to find a mutually beneficial solution, acceptable to both sides."

Bidding farewell to his disciples and hosts, His Holiness departed for the airport where he returned to Japan. His Holiness will rest for the next two days before giving a public talk in Saitama on November 26th. The following day he will return to India.

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