of Tibetan Culture Auroville
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
February 6, 2000
Tibetan New Year
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
(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.
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
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
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.
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.
further information, contact
Pavilion of Tibetan Culture
Tel: 622172/622136 Fax: 622062