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

Newsletter
February 6, 2000
Tibetan New Year

The Pavilion wishes you a very Happy Losar (Metal Dragon Year)

The Best News of the Year
The best news of the year (not to say of the century) came during our visit to Dharamsala in November. Finding funds has been our problem (or worry) No. 1 since we began the construction of the Pavilion in 1997. A great progress was made on that front in November/December 1999.
After his visit to Auroville last year, Kalon Tashi Wangdi (Minister, Department of Culture and Religious Affairs) took his promise to raise some funds for the Pavilion from the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) very seriously. He contacted Kalon Tempa Tsering, the Home Minister who in turn took up the matter with the different Departments of the Administration. The response has been more than encouraging: the Private Office of His Holiness, the Department of Home and the Tibetan Children Village were the first to contribute Rs 1,00,000 each to the Pavilion. The contributions of other Departments of the CTA is 'on the way'.
This has given a tremendous boost to the construction and as well as to our morale to continue the work and complete the project soon.
We are deeply grateful to Kalon Tempa Tsering and Kalon Tashi Wangdi and their colleagues of the Kashag as well as Kasur Tenzin Geyche Tethong and Kasur Jetsun Pema for this very timely help.
With the contribution of the CTA we should be able to complete the construction of the ground floor. The active participation of the CTA should also facilitate further fund raising campaigns.

Construction of the Pavilion
Since our November Newsletter the construction of the Pavilion has progressed very well. In fact, most of the visitors (and Aurovilians) who came during the new year vacations and had not seen the Pavilion for many months were very surprised at the progress. For us who are plunged in the day-to-day material problems, it is less obvious. In any case, it is always comforting to hear friends appreciating the progress.
We are presently working on the Exhibition Hall and the kitchen for the restaurant.
We have called upon experts from Auroville to provide us with ideas and advice to make these rooms not only more beautiful but also more functional. For the exhibition hall, the team of Auroville Press who has a vast experience in designing and organising exhibitions in India (for example at the India International Centre and the Central Cottage Industries Emporium in Delhi) has provided detailed plans for the lighting system and hanging of exhibits.
For the kitchen also we are trying to use the expertise that some Aurovilians have gained in running collective kitchens and restaurants for many years in Auroville. The aim is to be able to smoothly supply 50 meals at a time. The kitchen will be at first used by trainees and guests of the Pavilion, though provisions are being made to extend its use later to Aurovilians and friends.
One of the problems that we are facing is that we have to find solutions within the grid of the Mandala on which the Pavilion is designed and it is not always easy. It requires a lot of creative designing sometimes.
We are hoping to complete these rooms in 2/3 months. The problem of interior decoration will come then. This is where a Tibetan touch will be most needed.

Two Thousand Light Mandala
As for the two previous years, on the eve of the New Year, we organised a Light Mandala. As we mentioned earlier, the Pavilion has been designed on the grid of the Kalachakra Mandala and all the rooms are symmetrically disposed around the central courtyard. Usually we are using 1000 oil lamps (dias) which are spread along the walls as well as on the structure and the roof.
But this year we had to put 2000 lights as the world was celebrating the entry into the third millennium. This is not totally relevant in the context of a 2200 year old Tibetan civilisation or even in the Buddhist historical context, as Buddhists have entered their 3rd Millennium more than 500 years ago, however we went along with the worldwide spirit of the new millennium and celebrated the new year with Universal Responsibility in mind.
To our surprise, after 8:30 p.m. hundreds of Aurovilians, friends and visitors started pouring in, trying to find a place in the building, the courtyard or on the roofs.
The flow did not stop for more than half an hour. Finally when more than 1000 people were assembled, we played a Message specially recorded for the occasion by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
It was a magical moment: young and old people from so many parts of the world silently listening to a Message of peace and hope for a new millennium. Here is the transcript of the Message:

We are now entering the 21st century and a New Millennium, many people in many parts of the world are doing efforts to welcome this new era. Some even built monuments or put up some sorts of decoration. So many people are doing a lot of efforts to prepare this new millennium and looking forward to that event!
As a Buddhist monk, as a practitioner, I think that while we are doing external efforts to welcome the New Millennium, it is equally important, and perhaps more important to build some kind of decoration or monument spiritually, in our own mind to welcome the New Millennium. This is very important!
If we enter the new century without changing our mental attitude, then the new century will also be eventually spoilt.
Therefore the most important thing for the preparation of the New Millennium is to look within ourselves and make some positive preparations at the mental and emotional level. That way the new century will be happier and more peaceful.
I always believe that genuine peace should come through inner peace, therefore first as the preparation for a genuine or happy century, we must create inner peace.
I feel that the basis of inner peace is to practice, as much as we can, compassion and a deeper awareness about the holistic nature of the world.
I wanted to share this with my old friends in Auroville.
Thank you
(His Holiness then recited a short prayer in Tibetan)

Before and after the Message, a beautiful music of monks chanting prayers, helped to further create an atmosphere of unity among all the participants. Everyone present felt a great peace and hope while watching in silence the small dancing lights of the lamps.
During the next few days, tens of people contacted us to tell us "we wish that there would be more functions like that in Auroville." That evening we really felt that the Pavilion has a role to play in uniting people in Auroville in a higher aspiration for human unity.

Training program with the Department of Education
From November 1999 to January 2000, we conducted the first training program in collaboration of the Department of Education of the CTA.
The Department sent us 5 young Tibetans from different settlements in India and Nepal. As we had done earlier with the Planning Council, we have tried to give them a basic training to enable them to start a small enterprise or to find an employment either in their own community or in Indian society.
Two girls had come all the way from Arunachal Pradesh. They were trained at Aditi, an Auroville unit doing tailoring and patchwork of children clothes for the Indian market and export.
One boy was trained in our two bakeries. He learned bread making during two first months and later French confectionery. He was taught the hard way: he had to wake up at 2 am in the morning to prepare fresh croissants or brioches.
The other two worked at the Auroville Building Centre of the Centre for Scientific Research (CSR) learning about ferro-cement and mud bricks and at Papyrus, a unit doing book binding, paper converting and printing technology.
All 5 have now gone back to their respective settlements. We do hope that they will remember their stay in Auroville and that it will prove to be useful in their professional and personal lives.

Training of Kalsang Phuntsok
Kalsang Phuntsok, a young Tibetan finishing his studies in the University of Massachusetts came for a month to Auroville to study solar energy. His study was part of a field research for his university. During his stay he had the occasion to attend a national workshop on "Sustainable Strategies for the Next Millennium" organised by the CSR and also a seminar with senior officials of the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy sources, Government of India on Alternative Sources of Energy organised by Dr C.L. Gupta an old friend of the Tibetans.
At the end of his training Kalsang was able to install 2 solar systems in Mainpat (Madhya Pradesh) and Kollegal (Karnataka).
In the future, we would like to develop this type of exchange with graduate or senior Tibetan students. Auroville has a lot of expertise in the fields of alternative energy research, education, appropriate building technologies or environment.

Monthly Lecture
From February, we will organise a monthly lecture on Tibetan culture.
The first lecture entitled "An Introduction to Tibetan Medicine" will be given by Dr. Dorjee Rabten, the Chief Medical Officer, Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute, Bangalore. Dr Rabten who has been visiting Auroville every month for the past 6 months is now very popular and his faithful patients (and other Aurovilians) are very eager to know more about the system of Tibetan medicine.

 

For further information, contact
Pavilion of Tibetan Culture
Tel: 622172/622136 Fax: 622062
Email: tibpav@satyam.net.in


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