Tibetan, Central in Switzerland

Tibetan, Central
Photo Source:  szyj351 - Pixabay  Creative Commons 
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Tibetan, Central
Country: Switzerland
10/40 Window: No
Population: 8,200
World Population: 1,133,900
Primary Language: Tibetan, Central
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.01 %
Evangelicals: 0.01 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Tibetan
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Written records of Tibetan history have survived from the seventh century AD, but it is known that nomadic tribes roamed Tibet as early as the second century BC. The cradle of Tibetan civilization is the Yarlung Valley area, about 80 kilometers (49 mi.) southeast of Lhasa. There, according to tradition, the union of a monkey and a she-devil created the Tibetan race. Around AD 600 the warrior-king of Yarlung, Namri Gampo, unified the clans of Tibet. He acquired a princess from Nepal and another one from China to be his wives. Under the persuasion of these two women, he combined the ancient Tibetan religion of Bon with Buddhist teachings.

For centuries the Chinese have claimed Tibet as an "unalienable part of China," despite Tibetans being culturally, historically, linguistically, and religiously distinct from Chinese. In the 1950s the Chinese took full control of Tibet, and many Tibetans have been fleeing ever since.

Where Are they Located?

Most Tibetans live in Tibet, which is now a province in southwestern China, but a sizable number fled to northern India with the Dalai Lama decades ago. There is a smaller Tibetan diaspora in other countries like Switzerland, where they live mainly in the northern regions.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The first Tibetans to enter Switzerland came in the 1960s. It was thought that the climate and terrain of Switzerland would make for a good place for the Tibetans. Since that time, they have had to adapt to a new culture and language. Given time, Tibetan children learned German.

The Tibetan diaspora is noted for protesting the injustices faced by their people in what is now a province of China. Because of the Internet, they can obtain fresh information from Tibetans in China. Their network allows news to move fast.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Tibetan Buddhist religion is the life-blood of the Tibetan people. It was placed over the powerful Tibetan religion of Bon, which is a mixture of magic, divination, demon worship, and shamanism. The patron saint of Tibet is Chenrezig, whose image has up to 11 heads and from 2 to 1,000 arms.

What Are Their Needs?

Tibetans in Switzerland have an opportunity to break the bondage of the spirit world and embrace Jesus Christ in their European homeland.

Prayer Points

Ask the Holy Spirit to soften Tibetan hearts towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the gospel.
Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Switzerland and share Christ with Tibetans.
Pray that God will raise up loving Swiss Christians to reach out to their Tibetan neighbors.
Ask the Lord to raise up a strong disciple making movement among Tibetans in Europe.
Ask God to encourage and protect the small number Tibetans who follow Christ.

Text Source:   Keith Carey