SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET
Seven Years in Tibet is a film based on a book that accounts the real experiences of the Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer in Tibet during seven years. From 1946 to 1952. As a student of intercultural communication, the purpose of this essay is to highlight the intercultural differences found in the film. The story is about Heinrich and Peter, two Austrian mountaineers who help each other for survival in the wild lands they go through until they reach Tibet. There, intercultural communication takes place and intercultural differences are clearly seen. This piece of work will briefly point out four topics: beliefs, gestures, protocol and intercultural marriage. They are related to the five scenes of the movie that will be addressed below. The first scene depicts some Tibetan pilgrims walking to the holy city of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. They believe if they walk long distances to holy places it purifies the bad deeds they committed and the more difficult the journey the greater the depth of purification. A pilgrimage to Lhasa is highly valued for all Tibetans and a dream for many. The journey can be very long because it has to be from the pilgrim’s home village; the farther away, the longer the journey. It can take more than two months for many. During the journey, pilgrims clasp their hands to forehead, to throat and to heart and then prostrate full-length on the ground. This ritual is called “kowtow” and it is practiced to express their honest heart to Buddha. The continuous kowtows hurt the pilgrimages’ foreheads and the scar is considered a treasure as it is a symbol of piety and patience. The whole journey is very difficult and some Tibetans have died on the way due to poor nutrition supply and the toil of the road. (Web, tibet.news.cn) Heinrich makes us aware of his beliefs when he writes to his son: “I can’t say I know where I’m going nor whether my bad deeds can be purified. There are so many things I have done which I...
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