Sunday, January 08, 2006

Amid the celebration, farewell to a friend

Wherever I live, I shall feel homesick for Tibet.
I often think I can still hear the cries of wild geese and cranes
and the beating of their wings as they fly over Lhasa in the
clear cold moonlight. My heartfelt wish is that my story may
create some understanding for a people whose will to live
in peace and freedom has won so little sympathy form an
indifferent world.
- from Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer

Just one day into the ritual Kalachakra proceedings, an old and dear friend of the Dalai Lama died on January 7 at the age of 93. Heinrich Harrer, explorer, mountaineer and author of Seven Years in Tibet passed away. Despite tales of a Nazi past that marred his later years, this man led an amazing, charmed, adventurous life that truly "rivalled that of Indiana Jones" (New York Times). He was privileged to see some of the very last years of free, unspoiled Tibet as it will never be again. And how many people can say they were the Dalai Lama's English teacher, in addition to having been portrayed in a major motion picture by Brad Pitt?

:Read the official condolence statement from His Holiness here.

:Austrian mountaineer Harrer dies at 93

:Dharmsala mourns death of Heinrich Harrer

"We feel we have lost a loyal friend from the West, who had the unique opportunity to experience life in Tibet for seven long years before tibet lost its freedom. We Tibetans will always remember Heinrich Harrer and will miss him greatly."

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