Khampa Tibetan in Bhutan

Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Khampa Tibetan
Country: Bhutan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,700
World Population: 1,599,800
Primary Language: Khamba
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Translation Started
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: Tibetan
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The exact origins of the Tibetans are unclear. Tibetans have many subgroups, with their own language and homeland. But there are only two main branches: the Amdo and the Khampa. The Khampa have a fearsome reputation as the most hostile and violent of the various Tibetan subgroups. People know them as excellent marksmen.

Khampa Tibetans have a long history of conflict with the Chinese, who annexed most of Kham Province to Sichuan in 1720. No Chinese dared to enter the territory for fear of being killed. The issue came to a head in the 1950s when Communist China was solidifying their hold on Tibet, and there was massive carnage at the hands of the Red Army. Though most Khampas remained till the bitter end, some fled either to Bhutan or northeastern India where they have set up new homes. Most of the Khampa Tibetans live in Tibet, but they have smaller populations in Northeastern India and Bhutan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Khampa Tibetans in Bhutan are semi nomadic, constantly moving their herds of yaks, cattle, goats, and sheep to new pastures. The economy rests on growing grain and cattle production. Their principal crop is barley. Farmers plow with the aid of the native yak or the dzo (a cross between a cow and a yak). They make butter from these animal's milk. The butter is then mixed with ground barley in tea to make a dish called tsampa, a staple food for Tibetans.

Sexual immorality among the Khampa is normal.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Khampa Tibetans adhere to Tibetan Buddhism, also known as Tantric Buddhism. Their religion is the lifeblood of the Khampa Tibetan people. Tantric Buddhism is Buddhism blended with bon, a mixture of magic, divination, demon worship, and sacrifices.

Tantric Buddhism involves visualization. The tantric master gives each student a deity to visualize. These deities are usually wrathful spirits. Their goal is to help the student achieve "liberation." He must learn to become what he sees in these visions.

What Are Their Needs?

Khampa Tibetans in Bhutan need the chance to find true liberation: liberation from sin and spiritual death. They are at the mercy of spirits that come to kill, steal and destroy.

Prayer Points

Pray that God will send culturally sensitive missionaries who will show them the way to the cross.

Pray for a Christ-ward movement to flourish among this people group in the 2020s.

Pray for the Khampa Tibetan to be blessed with peace, joy and spiritual prosperity as they follow Jesus Christ.

Pray for their leaders to have dreams and visions that will open their hearts to Jesus Christ and his ambassadors.

Text Source:   Joshua Project