India and China have to "live side by side" whether they like it or not, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama today said and asserted that the two countries can together work towards making a more compassionate world.
The 82-year-old Buddhist monk also said Tibetans are not seeking independence or separation from China but meaningful autonomy, and added that he "admired the European Union spirit".
The Tibetan spiritual leader appreciated the idea of the "Union of India". Citing his recent visit to Manipur where he learnt that some politicians wanted independence for the state, he said they needed to "think broadly, more holistically".
He said India and China are more than two billions of people together and though they have differences, Nalanda thoughts are not alien to them.
Nalanda university, the ancient seat of learning in Bihar, attracted scholars from China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, among other countries. These scholars have left records about the ambience, architecture and learning of this unique university.
India and China can "do something for a more compassionate world, more compassionate humanity", the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate said.
"And then India and China, at a practical level also, neither one has the ability to destroy others. Whether you like it or not, you have to live side by side," he told reporters when asked about the strain in bilateral ties over the Dokalam issue.
Earlier during an interaction with children at an event here organised by the Smile Foundation, the Dalai Lama said many Chinese people appreciate Tibetan scholars' knowledge of Nalanda.
He said the Nalanda school of thought, a shared heritage of India, China and Tibet, can help resolve the Tibetan crisis.
"Many Chinese Buddhists are very very eager to learn from Tibetan masters. And, we are not seeking separation from China... I really admire the European, the EU spirit... of national sovereignty," he said.
Amid all the linguistic and cultural diversity in India, it is a country that is the "most stable, more peaceful" of the Asian nations, he said.
"Here you have east India, north India and west India and south India ... different India, different scripts, different languages, but spirit of one India, which is wonderful," the Dalai Lama said.
"At a meeting, someone told me that some Maipur politicians want independence (for the state). I think they need to think broadly, more holistically. Union is important. Of course, I have no right to criticise," he said.
Making a veiled reference to the Catalan movement, he said, "In Spain, I think it was too short-sighted."
"It was time to think of one Europe. And, here (in India), you already have one nation... time to think long-sighted, about the wonderful Union of India," he said.
Hailing India's ancient knowledge system, especially the one based on the Nalanda school of learning, the Tibetan spiritual leader appealed to India to lead the world in shaping an education system which will inspire students to think "outward as much as inward" and be wary of "materialistic outlook".
At the event, he also announced that his philanthropy body will grant endowment to the Smile Foundation over the next five years.