Tibetan in Bhutan






Largest Religion

Main Language



Although the Tibetans strongly maintain they are one people and are opposed to any attempts to classify them as separate groups, the Tibetan nationality clearly divides into numerous linguistic components.

Central Tibetan - which contains five dialects - "is more commonly known as central Bus (transliterated from U, the spoken version of the same word). Educated people from other areas of Tibet traditionally retained their local variety and learned the literary variety of Central Tibetan."


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.


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 sacrifices. The patron saint of Tibet is Chenrezig, whose image has up to 11 heads and from 2 to 1,000 arms.


Tibet has long been one of the greatest challenges for Christianity. In 1892 Hudson Taylor said, "To make converts in Tibet is similar to going into a cave and trying to rob a lioness of her cubs." Timothy, the Nestorian patriarch in Baghdad (778-820), referred to Christians in Tibet and indicated he was willing to assign a missionary to them. Today there are just one or two small Tibetan fellowships in Lhasa. Would-be missionaries face opposition from Buddhist monks, the Chinese authorities, and pro-Tibet foreigners living in Tibet.

Profile Source:   Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

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Good News For You
People Name General Tibetan
People Name in Country Tibetan
Population in Bhutan 4,400
World Population 1,097,000
Countries 7
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Unengaged Yes (per Finishing the Task)
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bhokha, Bhote, Dalai, Dbus, Dbustsang, Lhasa, Lhasa Tibetan, Llasa, Phoke, Pohbetian, Tebilian, Tibate, Tseku, U, Wei, Weizang, Zang
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibetan
People Name General Tibetan
Ethnic Code MSY50r
People ID 15468
Country Bhutan
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 31  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file:  4  (up to 20 largest shown)
Eastern (1,600) Southern (1,200) Western (1,000) Central (700)
Total States on file:  4  (up to 20 largest shown)
Eastern (1,600) Southern (1,200)
Western (1,000) Central (700)

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Enthologue Language Map

Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Tibetan, Central (4,400)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Tibetan, Central 4,400
For Primary Language: Tibetan, Central

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1862-1991)
New Testament Yes   (1885-1973)
Complete Bible Yes   (1948)
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Fathers Love Letter Audio Recordings
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Jesus Film: view in Tibetan, Central Film / Video
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project) Film / Video
The Hope Video Film / Video
Primary Religion: Buddhism

Major Religion Percent
100.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: COMIBAM / Sepal  
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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