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

Newsletter
April, 2001

Contribution from His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The Pavilion team is delighted to share extremely good news with you.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama has donated $ 20,000 to the Pavilion.
He announced these good tidings when we visited Dharamsala recently.
This contribution gives us a tremendous moral and financial boost to complete the Pavilion at the earliest.
It represents about half of what is required to complete the construction.
With this money we should be able to make the four guest rooms liveable, and the archive/office room and the exhibition hall functional.
No words can sufficiently express our deep gratitude to His Holiness.
We have to mention some other friends who have supported us since our last newsletter: in particular Forrest of Auroville International UK, Nohar of Israel and the Himalaya Team of Italy and UK.
We are grateful to them.

News from the Construction
We should also give you some news from the construction site.
The Year 2001 had started slowly due to the fact that an instalment of the grant from the Government of India was delayed. All the ‘technicalities’ have now been sorted out and we should soon be receiving the money which has already been spent, as we had no choice but to borrow the funds on the strength of the letter of sanction.
In March we completed the last roof of the building. This new room is the most spacious of the building; it has a surface of more than 100 sq/m and will be use for conferences/multimedia. It can eventually be used as an extension of the exhibition hall on the ground floor.
One corner will also be arranged for meditation/prayers.
Our builder had recommended that in a first stage, we should fully complete the structure of the building and later on finish the different rooms one by one. This is now done. The logic behind this approach was that it was the only way to provide a full waterproofing of the ground and first floor rooms.
For the first time since the beginning of the construction, we are now able to have an idea of the final ‘look’ of the Pavilion. The different levels in the elevation are clearly appearing.
In the next few months, we are planning to complete the staircase of the exhibition hall, the archive room and the four guest rooms. With the exhibition fully functional, we plan to have regular exhibitions from September/October.
The water recycling plant (for which we have received the plans from Germany) will also be started soon, making the public facilities usable.

Exhibition/Seminar in Dharamsala
We participated in an Exhibition on Tibetan architecture held in Dharamsala from March 28 to April 5. The exhibition was followed by a Seminar “Identity and Styles of Tibetan Architecture” addressed by several very knowledgeable architects working in the field of Tibetan and Himalayan architecture. We should particularly mention Romi Khosla, Bill Semple. Anuradha Chaturvedi and Roberto Vittali who have a remarkable experience in the field.
Our presentation was more modest: we presented the project of the Pavilion as a sample of modern Tibetan architecture using sustainable building technologies which could be replicated in the Tibetan settlements in exile, particularly, compressed earth blocks, ferro-cement, use of alternative sources of energy etc… The context of the International zone of Auroville, the universal township was also explained. We emphasised that we were trying to follow the advice given to us by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: “Keep it simple, close to nature, you should just feel happy, contented (santoshan) when in the building”.
We were impressed by the young organising team of the Tibetan Architecture Documentation Centre of the Tibetan Library of Works and Archives, led by Tibetan architect Tenzin Lobsang.

Tibetan Medical Centre
We have been very saddened to hear of the demise of Dr. Tenzin Choedrak, Personal Physician of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Dr Choedrak had visited us for one week in 1989 and had deeply inspired all those who met him at that time. He had been the main source of inspiration for starting the medical activities in the Pavilion. We all still remember his calm presence, his fortitude, his kindness and extraordinary knowledge of the human body.
The Tibetan medical activities will continue to develop as more and more patients are visiting the Pavilion from Pondicherry as well as other districts around Pondicherry.
We are happy to inform you that our old project is taking shape. We have been planning to have a survey all the flora of South India (in a first stage around Auroville and Pondicherry) to see if some of the plants or seeds can be used in Tibetan medicine. One of the main problems of Tibetan medicine has been its popularity and the subsequent need for more and more plants. There is a real danger that one day the Tibetan doctors will be overgrazing in the Himalayan region and create an environment unbalance.
Our idea is to have a fully scientific survey of the plants available in South India to see if in some cases, they can replace some of the Himalayan ones. This work will be done by a team of Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute, Dharamsala and Pitchandikulam Forest in Auroville with support from CAPART.

An Appeal
With His Holiness’ contribution we finally see the light at end of the tunnel and we believe that the Pavilion can be completed by the end of 2002 if all our supporters and well-wishers give us a last push.
Thank you for doing one more effort to build with us the Pavilion which will be the first one with Bharat Nivas (The Pavilion of India) to be functional in the International Zone of Auroville.
We heard in Dharamsala that some people are promising benefits ‘till the end of the samsara’ to those providing support to their project. We can not promise you that, but we can tell you that your money will be utilised to the best of our abilities to complete this resource centre for Tibetan culture. Apart from that, we believe this project can be useful.

I feel very strongly that Tibetan culture will have a future role to play in humanity. So therefore, wherever there are spiritual centres like Auroville, if Tibet can participate it can be a way or a channel to communicate Tibetan culture to other people.

HH The Dalai Lama


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
Email: tibpav@satyam.net.in 

 


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