of Tibetan Culture Auroville
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
In our last
Newsletter, we announced to you the great news that His Holiness
the Dalai Lama had donated $ 20000 for the Pavilion. This donation
has brought a tremendous boost to the construction of the building
and has taken us one step further towards the completion day.
More than 50 construction workers including masons, barbenders,
electricians, painters, carpenters are working hard on the site.
Recently, we have concentrated in building the forms above each
rooms which give the Pavilion its architectural particularity. Although
work and material intensive, these forms, using ferro-cement technology
with a 2-meter cantilever, not only protect each room against the
monsoon rains or the summer's sun, but their four different elevations
give the Tibetan look to the building. In fact, upon reaching the
gate, the many visitors are impressed by the majestic look of the
building. The view from the roofs is even more imposing.
On the ground floor, a few rooms are already in use, in particular
the two rooms for the doctor's monthly consultations, the Exhibition
Hall and the room which will later be used for the Restaurant, (now
used as a meeting place). Work is progressing on the first floor
and the guest rooms will soon be completed. We plan to finish the
care-taker's room in October and hopefully our colleagues Kalsang
Dolma and Namgyal will be able to shift soon to become the "Guardians"
of the Pavilion.
With the Northwest monsoon setting over Tamil Nadu in October, our
first priority during the next two weeks will be the waterproofing
of the roofs. For the purpose, we have purchased white ceramic tiles
which will assure a perfect protection against the leaks and at
the same time will reflect the light, thereby cooling the rooms
below. This will be particularly appreciated for the guest rooms
and the Conference Hall.
But all actions have a consequence: the quick pace of the work has
seen our funds decreasing accordingly and once more we are looking
for material help to complete the building.
It is estimated that $ 30000 will be required to finish the rooms
of the first floor as well as painting, furnishing and giving the
last Tibetan touch to the rooms.
We appeal to all those who can help us in our endeavour have a center
of Tibetan culture in Auroville, to continue their generous support.
months, we have had in Auroville, two trainees, sent from Kollegal
Tibetan Settlement in Karnataka.
One of them is a long-time trainee which is learning offset printing.
He is a very serious and quick-learning young Tibetan. We do hope
that after a few months he will be able to become a good offset
printer, a qualification which is definitively required in Tibetan
society. The other one is learning book-binding. He should be returning
soon to his settlement to practice his newly-acquired skills.
a team of the Tibetan Medical & Astro. Institute
On July 13,
a team of Materia Medica Department of the Tibetan Medical &
Astro. Institute (Men-Tsee Khang), Dharamsala visited Auroville
and South India for two weeks.
The team was headed by Dr. Dawa, the Department's Director and included
Dr. Tsering Norbu, Dr. Tenzin Thaya and Dr. Tsultrim Kalsang. We
had invited them for a field study of the flora of South India and
see if some of the medicinal plants locally used could be of any
help for the Tibetan medicine.
It was an old project to share the knowledge of some of our Auroville
units (such as Pitchandikulam Forest or Shakti Nursery), involved
in preservation of local healing traditions in the area around Auroville,
with a team of Dharamsala
Soon after their arrival, the doctors proceeded to Pitchandikulam
where they could meet Joss and Anita who have been working in this
field for more than 20 years. Two botanists Dr. N. Loganathan and
Armugan participated to these first exchanges of views and guided
their Tibetan colleagues through the forest.
Dr Loganathan, with his great expertise in medicinal plants growing
in the Eastern Ghats especially around Pondy and Auroville, is in
constant contacts with folk traditional healers; his own father
being a well-known local eye specialist using plants to cure most
of eye diseases.
Dr Dawa later wrote: "We had some discussion with them about
the uses of medicinal plants and they shared with us how to diagnose
[the disease] through their traditional way. At same time we also
shared our medical views with them." This kind of exchange
can only be beneficial to both sides.
During the following ten days, the Tibetan doctors visited different
places where research is conducted in Auroville; they also went
for field visits to some of the primordial forests in Auroville's
bio-region. They had the occasion to meet local traditional healers
who have a deep knowledge of the flora growing in the area and the
plants' potencies. Dr Dawa commented: "Without their help it
is hard to find the medicinal plants since the Eastern Ghats have
thick and wide forest resources."
One of the most interesting parts of the visit was the sharing of
the list traditional of traditional plants brought from Men Tse
Khang with the Auroville's list. It was found that some 50 medicinal
plants listed in the Tibetan scriptures are growing in Auroville
and its surrounding areas. There are locally known to have the same
potency than the one described in Tibetan texts.
On the last day, Dr. Dawa gave, a lecture on "The Use of Tibetan
Plants in Tibetan Medicine", to interested members of Auroville
at the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture. He and his colleagues left for
Bangalore where we had arranged for them to meet Dr. Darshan Shankar,
the Director of the Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health
Traditions (FRLHT) which is the most prestigious institution engaged
in preserving medicinal plants in India. We understand that their
two days in Bangalore were a good continuation of their field visit
to Auroville and very fruitful for future collaboration.
We hope that this visit will be the first step of a collaboration
between Men Tse Khang and Auroville. We are particularly keen to
explore the possibility to cultivate some of these plants in an
organic and natural way in Auroville. This could eventually help
to avoid over-harvesting the same plants in some parts of North
Visiting Committee of the Government of India
A high powered
Committee of the Government of India spent three days in Auroville
at the end of September. The purpose of their visit was to review
the innovative research being done in Auroville in the field of
education. Their report is to be presented to the Ministry of Human
Resource Development and the Planning Commission.
The Committee was headed by Prof. G.C. Pande, eminent historian
and one of the foremost scholars of Buddhism in India. Prof Pande
is also Chairman of the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies
in Sarnath and the prestigious Indian Institute of Advance Studies
in Simla. His colleagues included Dr K. Venkatsubramanian, Member
of the Planning Commission (GOI) who, by the way, in 1987 inaugurated
our first Tibet Festival in Auroville. He was then the first Vice-Chancellor
and Founder of Pondicherry University. This Tibet Week had been
organized with the collaboration of the Tibetan Medical and Astro
Institute and the Department of Information and International Relations,
Dharamsala. It was a great pleasure to meet Dr Venkatsubramaniam
The other members were Dr Subash Kashyap, former Secretary-General
of the Lok Sabha and member of the Committee reviewing the Indian
Constitution. Dr Kashyap has also been associated with the drafting
of the Tibetan Constitution. Shri Champak Chatterjee, Joint Secretary,
was representing the Ministry of Human Resource Development. As
a young IAS officer, he had been posted as the District Magistrate
of Darjeeling district of West Bengal where he had the good fortune
to have regular encounters with high lamas such as Ven. Kalu Rinpoche.
He was accompanied by Shri P.K. Gupta, his Deputy Secretary.
The Pavilion had the privilege to receive the Committee for a session
on the Faculty of East-West and Human Unity. We reminded the distinguished
guests that His Holiness' concept of Universal Responsibility is
very similar to the ideals of human unity, the raison d'Ítre of
the national pavilions in the International Zone of Auroville. After
a brief explanation of the concept of the zone, we presented to
the members an update of the progress of the different projected
Pavilions (in particular the Unity Pavilion), as well as a more
detailed work on the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture.
We briefed them on our aspiration of being not only being a window
on Tibetan culture in South India but also a center which could
propagate His Holiness' vision of a world where compassion and kindness
will replace strife and anger; a world where the citizens will be
linked by a common responsibility for a more humane planet earth.
The members were accompanied by our Chairman, Dr. Kireet Joshi who
had the privilege to receive His Holiness in 1973 when he first
visited the Mother and Auroville. We had displayed a small photo
exhibition of this first visit of His Holiness in Auroville and
his reception by Dr Joshi who was then the Registrar of the Ashram
The visit of the Committee was not only inspiring for the Pavilion
team who had worked very hard to prepare the visit, but also all
the other members of Auroville involved in the International Zone.
Journey": a Painting Exhibition
presentation of the International Zone, the Committee moved to the
Exhibition Hall where Prof. G.C. Pande consented to light a butter
lamp to inaugurate an exhibition entitled "Himalayan Journey".
This exhibition consists of 12 exquisite watercolour paintings by
Aron, a 19-year old Aurovilian, who spent a couple of weeks in the
Himalayas and meditated in front of the majestic peaks of Lahoul
valley. This extremely talented young artist produced these watercolours
which according to one of the members of the Visiting Committee
combined the strength of the Himalayas and extreme delicateness
This exhibition will remain on display till October 10.
we would like to request your help and support to continue (and
complete) the construction of the Pavilion which we hope will soon
be a vibrant center of the culture of Tibet in the universal township
For further information or contribution, contact
Claude Arpi, The Co-ordinator
Pavilion of Tibetan Culture
Auroville, 605101, TN India
Tel: 91-413-622172/622136 Fax: 622062