Burmese in Cambodia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Burmese civilization probably goes back 3500 years in the Irawaddy Valley, where people were using bronze tools, growing rice and raising livestock. By the 500s, they had adopted Buddhism, which was a turning point for their culture. In the 1000s, the Bama (aka, Burmese) people arrived from the hills of Tibet, and King Anawrahta unified Burma as a nation in 1057. Other kings followed who established Buddhist pagodas, monasteries, libraries and even places of higher learning. They could control their water supply in such a way that they increased their rice harvests. Their civilization waned in the 1300s partly because they gave too much of their resources to the Buddhist monks. This left them more vulnerable to the ravishes of the Mongol Empire and the Tatars.
It took another 200 years before a new, expansionist Burmese leader arose, Bayinnaung. He unified Burma for a short time through conquest. After his death, sections of his empire broke away. The Burmese expanded in the early 1800s, but the Chinese stopped them. Soon the British Empire made Burma a province of India, but that only lasted for a season.
Today, the Burmese are the political, economic and religious leaders of Myanmar. Myanmar has had a long history of coups, wars and rebellions. Ethnic divisions and political unrest have been common since the first Burmese kingdom in the eleventh century. Today, the Burmese military maintains forcible control over the ethnic groups who want equal power in the government and in commerce. The military promises a ceasefire, but they attack at the slightest note of rebellion. The ethnic groups of Myanmar, including the Burmese majority, live in a constant state of instability and fear. Thousands have fled to nearby Asian countries like Cambodia, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Rice is the basic means of economic support for the Burmese in Cambodia. Each day, entire families, including mothers with their babies, toddlers, and old people, go to the rice fields to work. They use oxen and water buffaloes to draw the heavy wooden plows. They seldom have access to modern farm equipment. Fish is an important part of their diet, especially for those living near the coast or rivers; they seldom eat meat because of its high cost.
The Burmese farmers live in villages among trees, along roads or near rivers. They build houses entirely out of wood and usually have only one room. They put mats on the floor to sleep on at night, then roll them or stack them away during the day. All activities take place on the dirt floors. Therefore, it is extremely impolite to enter a Burmese house wearing shoes.
The Burmese do not recognize clans or lineages. Marriages are monogamous and rarely arranged by the parents. They encourage young couples to live together and only marry after the girl becomes pregnant. Newlyweds live with the brides' parents for the first few two or three years after marriage. Then they set up their own homes.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Burmese are predominantly Buddhists. The traditional goal in Buddhism is to seek the middle path to nirvana, or ultimate peace. The Burmese have mixed these Buddhist beliefs with their own animistic beliefs (the belief that non-living objects have spirits).
Like other Buddhists, the Burmese believe that death is not a threat to one who has done good deeds. Instead, death is simply a "passing" from one life to another. They believe that "rebirth" is determined by the accumulated good or bad deeds done in the previous life. Therefore, those who have earned less merit are reborn as demons, ghosts, animals or inhabitants of hell.
Their animistic beliefs center around inherently evil spirits called nats. The Burmese spend their lives trying to appease the nats so that they will be protected from other evil spirits that may seek to harm them. All Burmese homes have altars for the spirits, as well as a statue of Buddha. Sadly, the farmers spend more in a year on their religion than on education, health and clothing for their families.

What Are Their Needs?

No matter where they live, the Burmese need a peaceful and stable place to live and raise their children. The Burmese need to find peace and stability outside their homeland, in this case, Cambodia.

Prayer Points

Ask God to raise up believers from the Burmese church to share the gospel with the Burmese in Cambodia.
Pray that the Holy Spirit would stir the hearts of Burmese people to prepare them for the gospel message.
Ask Jesus to reveal himself to the Burmese in Cambodia through dreams and visions.
Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among the Burmese people in Cambodia, leading to disciples and churches that multiply through generations.

Scripture Prayers for the Burmese in Cambodia.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Burmese
People Name in Country Burmese
Pronunciation bur-MEEZE
Alternate Names Bama; Bamar; Bamas; Burman; Man; Myan; Myan, Myen; Myanmas; Myen; Yaw; बर्मीज़
Population this Country 5,300
Population all Countries 32,184,000
Total Countries 18
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 11029
ROP3 Code 101776
ROP25 Code 301501
ROP25 Name Burmese (Bhama)
Country Cambodia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Cambodia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked

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Ethnolinguistic map or other map

Primary Religion: Buddhism
Religion Subdivision: Theravada
Major Religion Percent
99.41 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.07 %)
0.09 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.50 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Burmese (5,300 speakers)
Language Code mya   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Burmese (5,300 speakers)
Language Code mya   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Burmese

Primary Language:  Burmese

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1815-1985)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1832-1987)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1835-2021)
FCBH NT (www.bible.is) Online
YouVersion NT (www.bible.com) Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Burmese Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Rock International: King of Glory Rock International
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video The Hope Video Mars Hill Media
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Four Spiritual Laws Campus Crusade for Christ
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Android Bible app direct APK download SIL
Mobile App Android Bible app: Burmese YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Burmese YouVersion Bibles
Photo Source Anonymous 
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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