August 2018 Newsletter
The following articles are reproduced from the August 2018 Newsletter to members. Non-members may or may not be able to relate to the contents.
11th World Congress of the Theosophical Society
August is a most eventful month for us. We are hosting the 11th World Congress of the Theosophical Society in Singapore. This is the first time the World Congress is held in Asia!
The World Congress is held once every seven years or so. Previous World Congresses were held in Rome (2010), Sydney (2001), Brasilia (1993), Nairobi (1982), New York (1975), Salzburg (1966), Geneva (1936), Chicago (1929), Adyar (a Jubilee Congress in 1925) and the first World Congress was held in Paris in 1921, chaired by Annie Besant.
The 11th World Congress, chaired by our International President, Tim Boyd, will be held in Ramada Singapore at Zhongshan Park from 4th to 8th August 2018. The International President says, “More than just a chance to meet and to share ideas with our fellows from around the world, each of these global meetings presents an extraordinary opportunity. Although our grasp of the depths of our own teachings is necessarily limited, we do know that harmonious gatherings focused on wisdom have profound unseen effects on the world. It is for the benefit of ourselves and the world that we try to come together every seven years in this way. May our time together be a source of strength and renewal in this challenging time.”
Delegates are gathering in Singapore from 24 countries including Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Sweden and the U.S.A. Officers of The Theosophical Society including the International President, International Vice President, International Secretary and International Treasurer from the Headquarters in Adyar, Chennai will be in attendance.
The theme of the 11th World Congress is “Consciousness, Contemplation, Commitment: The Future Is Now”. Our present actions shape the future. It is the work we do now within ourselves and for others that determines what the Theosophical Society will look like in years to come. This Congress is to encourage us to actively participate in the NOW, to come to a shared vision for our future.
The World Congress will be opened by Tim Boyd, who will be giving two lectures. The first, on the first day of the Congress is entitled A Theosophy for Tomorrow. He says, “Theosophy has been described as the Ageless Wisdom. In 1875 the current form for this wisdom tradition was reintroduced through H. P. Blavatsky as a potential cure for the growing ills of the time. Our current acquaintance with it has been brief and has demanded an ongoing growth of our understanding. Although wisdom is without limit, our capacity to comprehend has numerous limitations. Faced with the pressing global demands of this time, what will be the next unfoldment of the wisdom tradition?”
Tim Boyd will also give a public lecture The Intuitive Mind on 5 August 2018 at the RELC Auditorium at 8 p.m. In this talk which is open to the public, he says “Our daily living reveals a number of levels at which the mind functions – everything from planning a meal, to calculating a formula, to the silent awareness of meditation and prayer. The Ageless Wisdom teachings speak of a deep, only occasionally accessed, layer of the mind that is the source of inspiration, profound guidance, understanding and wisdom. What is this Intuitive Mind and how do we access it?” Invite your relatives and friends to come for this public talk.
Marcos de Resende, a member of the General Council and former General Secretary of the Brazilian Section will give the Keynote speech. An interesting feature of the Congress is an online lecture by Dr Cassandra Vieten on Consciousness, Communication and Change: Aligning with Source to Make a Difference in Our World. Cassandra Vieten, PhD, is president of IONS. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and a scientist in the Mind-Body Medicine Research Group at California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute. Dr Vieten is an author, an international workshop leader, and a public speaker. She has been studying how people transform their way of looking at the world for more than twenty years. Her current projects focus on spirituality in mental health care, extraordinary experiences during or as a result of meditation, and virtual reality approaches to inducing perspective-shifting experiences that change people’s lives.
The 5-day event is packed with rich programmes. Speakers include Dr Deepa Padhi, International Vice-President of the TS, who talks about Consciousness, Compassion and Contemplation; Mrs Linda Oliveira, General Secretary, Australian Section on Contemplative Living in the Modern World; Mr Pradeep Gohil, General Secretary, Indian Section on Conscious, Subconscious and Unconscious Mind in our Daily Life; Mr Vic Hao Chin, Jr, Philippines Section on Our Work in the 21st Century; Mr Chong Sanne, Presidential Representative, East and Southeast Asia on A Study in Consciousness; Ms Nancy Secrest, TOS International Secretary, Adyar on Theosophical Order of Service: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
In addition to the lectures and talks, there are also short talks on Theosophy in Practice (TIP) by Mrs Clemice Petter, Head of Editorial Department, Adyar on What is Our Role in Education; Ms Ng Ay Na, President of the Selangor Lodge, Malaysia on Practicing the Gems and Values in Theosophy; Mrs Lily Chong, Secretary of the Singapore Lodge on Prayer – It’s Nature, Different Types and Efficacy; Ms Krista Umbjarv, Secretary of the European Federation, Estonia/France on Theosophy – an Unceasing Path of Self-discovery.
Another interesting feature of the 11th World Congress is the Explore Groups where participants choose one of six groups to explore.
1. Meditation in the Light of Theosophy led by Ms Trân-Thi-Kim-Diêu, President, European Federation, France.
2. Yoga Philosophy Applied to Theosophical Work led by Mr Ricardo Lindemann, Former General Secretary, Brazilian Section.
3. Activating Engaged Membership led by Mrs Patrizia Calvi, Secretary, Italian Section.
4. New Ways of Making Theosophy Known led by Mr Pedro Oliveira, Education Coordinator, Australian Section and Mr Wim Leys, General Secretary, Dutch Section, the Netherlands.
5. Establishing Theosophical Schools led by Mr Vic Hao Chin, Jr, Former General Secretary, Philippines Section.
6. Utilizing Theosophical Centres led by Mr Minor Lile, USA and Mrs Els Rijneker, Former General Secretary, Dutch Section, the Netherlands.
The Team from General Council Planning will give a presentation on International Work of the Theosophical Society. We will learn about Theosophy.World – online Theosophical resource centre from Mr Richard Sell and Mr John Vorstermans, General Secretary, New Zealand Section, the creators and administrators of the site.
Entertainment provided for the benefit of the visitors include a multi-racial cultural show, Chinese opera and musical programme by Ahnanthah, a band led by our very own member Prakash N.C.
The World Congress will be followed by the Theosophical Order of Service (TOS) 4th International Conference on the 9th and 10th August 2018 with the theme “TOS Vision Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”.
Excursion to the Botanic Gardens
By Tang Kwok Choon
For the last few days it never failed to rain in the late morning. It was with great trepidation that we went ahead with our outing to the Singapore Botanical Gardens on Saturday 30 June.
It was with great disbelief that the weather held out. It was cloudy morning but never rained. That is not until the party boarded the bus home.
Brother Tham was on hand at the CDL Green Gallery to welcome us at the door. His work initially for Halia the restaurant in the Gardens grew into a sophisticated collection of inspiring paintings and drawing of a high standard capturing the beauty and wonders of nature of plants and animals.
Most artists would concentrate in a single medium. Brother Tham was
equally at home with Ink, charcoal, acrylic, pastels, water colours and
oil. In addition to his work as a volunteer guide for the 300 parks all
over Singapore, he teaches art at a number of nature parks.
Then followed an hour’s walk in the Learning Forest – a portion of the Singapore Botanical Gardens depicting useful trees, gingers, bamboo and wetlands.
We took advantage of the natural serene surroundings and the lush forest and had a meditation session.
Viveka-Chūdāmani Study Class
The Viveka-Chūdāmani Study Class resumes on Tuesday, 14 August 2018. We shall have our study class every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.