Seven Years in Tibet

sevenyearstibet

I had a collection of books that I had downloaded in anticipation of having a lot of time to read while we where away in the Alps. That was a little naive of me as there was never any time for reading apart from on the car journeys there and back.

So way back on the journey home I started reading Seven Years in Tibet. And thanks to lack of time and too much life I’ve only just been able to pick it up again and finish it.

I had chosen Seven Years in Tibet because of the mountaineering/adventure theme that I believed it would be about. The author, Heinrich Harrer had been in the party of climbers that first successfully climbed north face of The Eiger so rightly or wrongly assumed that the book would be along the same themes of that.

Actually, quite wrongly.

It was certainly an adventure and the descriptions of the Tibetan landscape on the way to Lhasa are stunning. But the book’s main aim, as I didn’t really discover until the end, is to introduce the reader to Tibet. While I’ve always been ‘aware’ of Tibet, certainly through lots of reading about Buddhism and the odd report in the news about the treatment of Tibet by China, I’ve never really taken much time to understand Tibet and what is happening there.
I had no idea that Tibet suffered dreadfully during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution under the People’s Republic of China. I was very aware of both of these reforms and the effects they had on China having read the wonderful Wild Swans last year. It is quite shocking once you are aware of how devastating the rule over Tibet has been.

Seven Years in Tibet describes a happy, peaceful and beautiful country in which the young Dalai Lama grows up. In telling how Tibet once was it’s therefore even more shocking to learn the trouble that it is in now. The book led me to want to know more about Tibet and it’s people and understand what state it is in now.

The Free Tibet website is very informative and at the time of writing this China has been carrying out the demolition of Larung Gar, the world’s largest centre for Tibetan Buddhism. This is one of the many things that should not be happening to such a beautiful country.

Please read more here:

Free Tibet

Help Save Larung Gar

An Introduction to Tibet

The Cultural Revolution in Tibet

A Brief Article on Human Rights

Central Tibetan Administration Website

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