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 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 Taiwan, where they are not far from the long arm of the Chinese government.
What are their lives like? Tibetans and Taiwanese share a fear of the powerful Chinese government. The Tibetan diaspora is noted for protesting the injustices faced by their people. 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 new homeland.
Prayer Points * Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Taiwan and share Christ with Tibetans.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften Tibetan hearts towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the gospel.
* Pray that God will raise up loving Taiwanese believers to reach out to their Tibetan neighbors.
* Ask the Lord to raise up a strong disciple making movement among Tibetans.
* Ask God to encourage and protect the small number Tibetans who follow Christ.