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|
|Global Prayer Digest: 2011-05-03|
|Global Prayer Digest: 2014-04-30|
|Global Prayer Digest: 2016-05-14|
|People Name General||Tibetan|
|People Name in Country||Tibetan, Central|
|Population in United States||4,700|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|GSEC||1 (per PeopleGroups.org)|
|Alternate Names||Bhokha, Bhote, Dalai, Dbus, Dbustsang, Lhasa, Lhasa Tibetan, Llasa, Phoke, Pohbetian, Tebilian, Tibate, Tseku, U, Wei, Weizang, Zang, टिबेटन|
|Region||North America and Caribbean|
|Persecution Rank||Not ranked|
|Location in Country||Possibly 50 locations in the US. Source: Ethnologue 2010|
|Primary Language:||Tibetan, Central (4,700 speakers) People group listing|
|Language Code:||bod Ethnologue Listing|
|Written:||Yes ScriptSource Listing|
|Primary Language:||Tibetan, Central|
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|Bible Portions||Yes (1862-1991)|
|New Testament||Yes (1885-1973)|
|Complete Bible||Yes (1948)|
|Possible Print Bibles|
|Forum of Bible Agencies|
|World Bible Finder|
|Resource Type ▲||Resource Name|
|Audio Recordings||Audio Bible teaching (GRN)|
|Audio Recordings||Fathers Love Letter|
|Audio Recordings||Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||Creation to Christ (Indigitube.tv)|
|Film / Video||God's Story Video|
|Film / Video||Good News for You (Indigitube.tv)|
|Film / Video||Jesus Film: view in Tibetan, Central|
|Film / Video||Phim (Indigitube.tv)|
|Film / Video||Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)|
|Film / Video||The Hope Video|
|General||Four Spiritual Laws|
|Major Religion ▲||Percent|
|Christianity (Evangelical 0.02 %)||
|Other / Small||
|Christian Segments ▲||Percent|