Rajgir (Bihar): People often tend to claim themselves of being a true countryman but he claims to be 'son of India'.
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama today described himself as 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 here in Nalanda district.
"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 19.
The Dalai Lama stressed that good education would help develop tolerance among mankind and inculcate the habit of forgiveness.
"Today's system of education is making us a consumer.
The traditional mode of education was good," he said at Rajgir that is known globally for the Nalanda University, a historic seat of learning. The new Nalanda University, which has come up 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 International Convention Centre here, about 100 km from the capital Patna.