Dalai Lama India

Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Dr. Mahesh Sharma and Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the inauguration of the International Buddhist Conference, in Rajgir, Bihar, March 17, 2017. In a speech following the inauguration, the Dalai Lama described himself as a “son of India.” (IANS/PIB photo)

RAJGIR — Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said March 17 that he is a "son of India" and hailed the secularism prevailing in the country.

"I am living in India for the past 58 years and hence, I am a 'son of India,'" the noble laureate said in his speech after inaugurating an international seminar on Buddhism in the Nalanda district of Rajgir, Bihar.

"In the field of secularism there is no other country like India," the Dalai Lama said.

"When I was in Tibet my thoughts were narrow. But when I moved out of my homeland and came to India, I developed a broader thought about Tibet as well as about the entire world," he said.

The religious leader said the Nalanda school of thought was an important aspect of Buddhism. "Whatever I am today is due to the Nalanda thoughts," he said.

President Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to attend the seminar on March nineteenth.

The Dalai Lama stressed the importance of a proper education in developing tolerance and promoting forgiveness.

"Today's system of education is making us a consumer," he explained at Rajgir, which is known worldwide for the Nalanda University, a historic seat of learning.

"The traditional mode of education was good," he added.

The new Nalanda University, which was established near the historic site, is also drawing international attention.

On the occasion, Union Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said Buddhism was a symbol of unity and peace.

"There is a lot of expectations from Buddhism across the world," the minister said.

"From India, Buddhism spread across the world and contributed a lot in establishing peace," Sharma said.

Buddhist monks and scholars from various countries are participating in the seminar "Buddhism in 21st Century," being held at the International Convention Center, about 100 kilometers from Bihar’s capital city, Patna.

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