of Tibetan Culture Auroville
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
January 1, 2001
Pavilion wishes you a very Happy New Year 2001.
from the Construction
have to first give you some news from the construction site.
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.
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.
since mid-December, we have been facing a very serious financial
crunch and the construction has considerably slowed down.
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”.
of Tibet' Exhibition
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.
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.
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.
of Prof. Robert Thurman
November, we had the visit of Professor Robert Thurman and his wife
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.
his recent publications are Inner Revolution, Circling
the Sacred Mountain and Essential Tibetan Buddhism.
Thurman spent three days in Auroville and on the last day gave a
conference on “India’s Gift to the world: The second Renaissance”.
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
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.
Thurman ended by expounding, in a lively and amusing way, the basic
tenets of Buddhism.
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.
from an interview with Professor Thurman by Auroville’s monthly
magazine Auroville Today:
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?
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.
Yet Westerners continue to be drawn to India and the East. Why?
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.
What brought you to Auroville?
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.
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.
What do you think is the most important task facing humanity today?
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.
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.
are grateful to the team of Auroville Today for authorising
us to use their interview).
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.
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
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.
from the Buddha Sakyamuni received by Mother
at 5.30 in the evening after meditation.)
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."
further information, contact
Arpi, The Co-ordinator
Pavilion of Tibetan Culture
Auroville, 605101, TN India