Harrer, the central character in the film "Seven Years in Tibet," is credited with bringing an awareness to the outside world the Tibetan plight. The Dalai Lama himself credits Harrer with the idea of being able to raise awareness through his books of the Tibetan struggle from the Chinese for their independence. The reasons why the book can be considered important because Harrer's time in Tibet was right before the end of Tibetan freedom, as the Chinese took over. Additionally, being able to articulate the predicament of a nation seeking to be free on religious and political grounds has helped to raise international consciousness and ire towards China. Perhaps, on a larger level, the importance of the work might not be in helping Tibet but displaying how Buddhist teachings can transform one's life. An SS Officer in Austria, Harrer's interactions with the Dalai Lama has been self described as liberating, where he began to understand what it meant to think for oneself and be free. In this light, the power of the narrative is not as much for what Tibet gained, but rather in what an individual unaware of the tenets of Buddhism gained about the notion of self. The importance of someone involved in the Anschluss as well as the Nazi party as understanding the true sense of self is highly reflective of the transcendental quality of all religion, especially the Buddhist faith.
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