A library contains the world in so far as it contains all information on the world. All libraries, digital or physical, contain information specific to their specialization. The capital city of Bhutan, Thimphu, has over a hundred thousand people and is growing at 12 percent annually. Thimphu residents are starved by lack of a library. There is a town library with a holding of about a 1000 novels and a Buddhist scriptural archive, with a collection of religious texts in choskad, the classical Tibetan writing, called the National Library of Bhutan. The capital city has otherwise no place for intellectual sustenance.
The title of the library – The Library of Mind, Body and Sound – resonates a typical Himalayan concept of actions of human beings who express them through mind, body and sound. Human beings manifest themselves through mental, physical and auditory mediums. But they may not manifest in a way that promotes wellbeing and happiness. That will require an appropriate set of facilities, knowledge and skills among the population and policies of the Bhutanese government and society.
Successive elected governments of Bhutan have demonstrated their commitment to follow GNH in their programmes and policies, as evidenced increasingly in the national five year development plans. The findings of GNH surveys conducted by the Centre for Bhutan Studies & Gross National Happiness (CBS & GNH) at regular intervals serve to benchmark Bhutan’s national goals.
Dasho Tshering Tobgay, Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bhutan, has further demonstrated the government’s commitment to GNH, not only for Bhutan but for other nations who wish to emulate GNH, by funding the building of the Library of Mind, Body and Sound. But the government has not provided budget for internal equipment and other installations. The construction of a six-storied landmark building with a footprint area of 29,000 feet has reached a half-way mark and is expected to be completed by June 2018. It is one of the largest modern buildings in Thimphu, and is aimed at becoming the hub of knowledge, practices and training to transform the city’s population and its future generations in acquiring knowledge and skills about mind, body and sound towards happiness and wellbeing.
The Library of Mind, Body and Sound of Bhutan will specialize in digital and book-based library services and regular programmess of exhibitions, lectures, research, shows, performances, exercises, singing, liturgy of voice, dance, yoga, tsa lung trulkhor, meditations and other skills-building activities in these three domains for happiness and wellbeing that arises from the interrelation and intersection of body, mind and sound.
Of the six floors, the first floor will be devoted to the body and its improvements for wellbeing. The second floor will house the library of sound and activities centred on the sound and its absence: silence. The role of silence, music, vocalizations, infra and ultra sound in wellbeing and happiness will be experienced as much as noise pollution in undermining human happiness and health. The third and the fourth floors will encompass the general Library of Mind and the space for running activities in improving mentalization, visualization, imaginations and meditations.
By Dasho Karma Ura, President of the Centre for Bhutan Studies & GNH