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Pavilion of Tibetan Culture Auroville
Patron: His Holiness the Dalai Lama
 

Newsletter
January 1, 2001

 The Pavilion wishes you a very Happy New Year 2001.

 

News from the Construction  

 

We have to first give you some news from the construction site. 

 

The Year 2000 has been a good year and the construction has proceeded at a quick pace. For this we are grateful to all those who helped us. We would like to particularly mention the Private Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Central Tibetan Administration, the Tibetan Children Village, Himalaya (Italy), Tibet House (New York), CAPART and the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

 

In the course of 2000 the main structure of the ground floor was completed and finishing touches (painting and polishing of the floors) could be done. On the advice of the builder, we decided to proceed with the work on the structure of the first (and last) floor before making the ground floor fully functional. The reason behind this decision was that it is very difficult to use the ground floor rooms while work is going on the first floor. We have now completed more than half of the structure (including roofing) of the first floor. Only the beams and roof of the main conference room remain to be finished.

Unfortunately, since mid-December, we have been facing a very serious financial crunch and the construction has considerably slowed down.
 

We take this opportunity to appeal to all our friends and those who supported us in the past to make a last effort and help us to complete the Pavilion. Some 40000 $ are still needed and if this money was to come, in less than two years Auroville could have the first finished Pavilion in the international zone of the “city the earth needs”.

 

'Glimpses of Tibet'  Exhibition

 

Thanks to Friendsoftibet (Bombay) and the Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research Centre (New Delhi), we have been able to ‘inaugurate’ the exhibition hall of the Pavilion. These organisations have lent us an exhibition entitled 'Glimpses of Tibet' which was previously shown in Chennai by Friendsoftibet for a Tibet Day in November.

The photos are mostly from archives kept in Dharamsala and depict some historical events like the Asian Relations Conference in 1947, the Tibetan delegates meeting the President of India in 1952, and the Dalai Lama’s visit to India in 1956. One section is consecrated to the Tibetans in exile, especially in the early days, when the first refugees were working on high altitude roads, while another section shows the cultural destruction of Tibet under Chinese occupation. The last picture is a beautiful snapshot of Mount Kailash, the holy mountain par excellence.

More than one thousand Aurovilians, friends of Auroville and visitors had the occasion to glance through these old pictures and acquaint themselves with the tragic past of Tibet.  

 

Visit of Prof. Robert Thurman

 

In November, we had the visit of Professor Robert Thurman and his wife Nena.

Prof. Thurman holds the first endowed chair in Buddhist Studies in the West, the Jey Tsong Khapa Chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in Columbia University (USA). He is also President of Tibet House and is known all over the world for the both scholarly and popular books he has written. He is a very popular lecturer, celebrated for his simple and yet deep way to introduce Buddhism.

Among his recent publications are Inner Revolution, Circling the Sacred Mountain and Essential Tibetan Buddhism

 

Prof Thurman spent three days in Auroville and on the last day gave a conference on “India’s Gift to the world: The second Renaissance”.

During his talk Prof. Thurman identified the greatest challenge today as the all-pervasive influence of the materialistic paradigm. However, the limitations of this paradigm are becoming so obvious that he believed there soon would be a massive call for change. But towards what?

Prof. Thurman talked of the need for a global renaissance which would once again reassert the importance of the 'inner science' which has been India’s great gift to the world. Education should be revolutionised so that creative thinking and inner science is encouraged, and there should be new institutions of advanced studies which will bring together spiritual people and members of the scientific community.

Dr. Thurman ended by expounding, in a lively and amusing way, the basic tenets of Buddhism.

At the end of his visit Prof. and Mrs. Thurman presented a cheque of US $ 5000 as a contribution from Tibet House (New York) for the Pavilion for which we are deeply grateful.

Excerpt from an interview with Professor Thurman by Auroville’s monthly magazine Auroville Today:

Auroville Today: From your experience of studying Tibetan Buddhism and of living and teaching it in the West, do you think there is a difference between eastern and western notions of consciousness?

 

RT: I don’t believe that East is East and West is West. The key factor in distinguishing between societies, in my opinion, is the presence or absence of militarism. There is a strong addiction in some societies to violence or militarism, and the presence of violence in a society makes people shut down their sensitivity tremendously. I think of all the Asian societies.  India, through a long and steady effort, had become the most open, but then they were rebound again by being conquered by the Muslims and the Europeans.

 

AVT: Yet Westerners continue to be drawn to India and the East. Why?

 

RT: Here I find Sheldrake’s concept of morphic resonance is helpful. It is not surprising that people have amazing experiences in ashrams or in the Himalayas because there the resonance is such that there is more room for them to relax and let go, - there is more energy available for the individual to do inner work. Western people have come to India and learned a great deal here. In this context, I think it’s very crucial for the spiritual health of the world that Tibet is restored, the spiritual Tibet, to help us with the new leap everyone has to take.

 

AVT: What brought you to Auroville?

 

RT: I came here because I wanted to see the experiment and to be a tiny bit helpful with the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture. Fifteen years ago in New York we created Tibet House to help preserve the very important but neglected Tibetan culture, so I was delighted that Auroville is also doing that.

I think Auroville’s marvellous, I love Matrimandir and people here have a wonderful spirit: it’s wonderful that many people from many nations are trying to live in a higher way. Many young people on this planet, looking at the challenges the planet may be facing over the next 50 years are discouraged, but they should be encouraged to come here and look at what you are doing. Auroville is not centred around a living guru, like one of the Tibetan lamas, where an active charisma is experienced. Here you have a vast body of knowledge and writings, but you are forced to be more mature, more self-reliant.

 

AVT: What do you think is the most important task facing humanity today?

 

RT: It is to develop an alternative to the financial and intellectual powers which are in control because, at least in the West, everybody’s brain  is locked up in a materialistic culture. My idea of a global renaissance is based upon the way of inner science, a new way of thinking about, and understanding, problems from an integral view. This means we should energetically pursue new forms of education, like teaching samadhi at high school and having institutes for advanced studies which bring together spiritual people and scientists.

This is why, for me, a place like Auroville is of the utmost importance, because it is a place of education where you try to understand the nature of reality and yourself: where practically , intellectually and spiritually you work from the base of inner science.

 

(We are grateful to the team of Auroville Today for authorising us to use their interview).

 

2001 Light Mandala

 

Like the three previous years, the Pavilion organised a Light Mandala ceremony on December 31st, 2000. As the night was falling on the last day of the year, several hundred Aurovilians, friends and guests of Auroville gathered in silence at the Pavilion and in a symbolic gesture, lit more than 2000 oil lamps together. 

The small clay pots filled with oil, were placed on the structure of the building, designed on the grid of the Kalachakra Mandala, and in the different rooms of the ground floor.  It was followed by a silent meditation which brought down a great peace in the building. In the central courtyard, a Tibetan AUM made of small flames reminded us all of the importance to keep our aspiration alive during the new year to come. During more than one hour, these small lights were able to unite people from different races, backgrounds, education in the same aspiration for a better tomorrow.

It appears more and more that one of main roles of the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture to bring together people at an inner level, where there is a unity and peace.

 

Communication from the Buddha Sakyamuni received by Mother

 

20 December 1916

(Received at 5.30 in the evening after meditation.)

 

"As thou art contemplating me, I shall speak to thee this evening. I see in thy heart a diamond surrounded by a golden light. It is at once pure and warm, something which may manifest impersonal love; but why dost thou keep this treasure enclosed in that dark casket lined with deep purple? The outermost covering is of a deep lusterless blue, a real mantle of darkness. It would seem that thou art afraid of showing thy splendour. Learn to radiate and do not fear the storm: the wind carries us far from the shore but shows us over the world. Wouldst thou be thrifty of thy tenderness? But the source of love is infinite. Dost thou fear to be misunderstood? But where hast thou seen man capable of understanding the Divine? And if the eternal truth finds in thee a means of manifesting itself, what dost thou care for all the rest? Thou art like a pilgrim coming out of the sanctuary; standing on the threshold in front of the crowd, he hesitates before revealing his precious secret, that of his supreme discovery.
Listen, I too hesitated for days, for I could foresee both my preaching and its results: the imperfection of expression and the still greater imperfection of understanding. And yet I turned to the earth and men and brought them my message. Turn to the earth and men.., isn't this the command thou always hearest in thy heart? -- in thy heart, for it is that which carries a blessed message for those who are athirst for compassion. Henceforth nothing can attack the diamond. It is unassailable in its perfect constitution, and the soft radiance that flashes from it can change many things in the hearts of men. Thou doubtest thy power and fearest thy ignorance? It is precisely this that wraps up thy strength in that dark mantle of starless night. Thou hesitatest and tremblest as on the threshold of a mystery, for now the mystery of the manifestation seems to thee more terrible and unfathomable than that of the Eternal Cause.
But thou must take courage again and obey the injunction from the depths. It is I who am telling thee this, for I know thee and love thee as thou didst know and love me once. I have appeared clearly before thy sight so that thou mayst in no way doubt my word. And also to thy eyes I have shown thy heart so that thou canst thus see what the supreme Truth has willed for it, so that thou mayst discover in it the law of thy being. The thing still seems to thee quite difficult: a day will come when thou wilt wonder how for so long it could have been otherwise."

Buddha Sakyamuni

For further information, contact  
Claude Arpi, The Co-ordinator  
Pavilion of Tibetan Culture  
Auroville, 605101, TN India  
Tel: 91-413-622172/622136 
Fax: 91-413-622062 
Email: tibpav@satyam.net.in

 


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