Introduction / History
The Buddhist Bodh people live in north central India. A much smaller group live in northeastern Pakistan. The classification of this people group is problematic. In India the government has granted scheduled tribe status to the Bhotia and also the Bodh of Himachal Pradesh. These two terms are generic names given to people of Tibetan origin across northern India and Nepal. They are sometimes even used as a religious designation for all Buddhist people of the region.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The people who came from Tibet prior to 1962 are referred to as Bodhs, while those who have migrated across the border in the past forty years are called Tibetans. These refugees were escaping the persecution of Buddhists by the Chinese government.
The Bodh speak Ladakhi as their primary language. A complete Bible and the JESUS Film are available in Ladakhi. Many Bodh men also speak Urdu, the national language of Pakistan.
The area where the Bodh has been described as having an inhospitable terrain with little vegetation as the area falls in the arid zone. It has scanty rainfall. Stone boulders and loose rocks keep falling all over and on small patches of terraced fields, which are usually near the riverbeds. The Bodh grow potatoes, barley, wheat, maize, lentils, and vegetables in the short dry summers of the high mountain valleys. The fields are near rivers so the Bodh can provide water for their crops. The Bodh also raise and take care of animals. These herders of sheep, goats and yaks are semi-nomadic. In the summers they move with their animals into the high valleys searching for green plants for their herds and flocks. In the harsh, cold winters they go into lowers valley near rivers. The Bodh trade their surplus crops and animal products to obtain things they cannot make for themselves such as cell phones and appliances.
Monogamy or marriage to one spouse is the norm among the Bodh. Bodh parents tend to have many children but unfortunately many children die before reaching the age of ten. The Bodh rely on Buddhists monks as their primary source of medical help. The monk gives the Bodh amulets and perform rituals designed to ward off the evil spirits which they believe cause illness. Sons inherit property and care for elderly parents and grandparents. Three of more generations often live under one roof.
The Bodh people depend heavily upon shamans to take care of their spiritual needs, and the favor of the spirits comes at a heavy price.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Tibetan Buddhism is the preferred religion of all Bhoti people in India and Pakistan, although Hindu influence is being seen. The Bhoti have their own monasteries, temples and lamas. The people are considered superstitious and live in constant fear offending of evil spirits. They believe that they must vigilantly perform rituals and offerings to placate the deities—otherwise the evil spirit could take offence and bring disaster on their community.
What Are Their Needs?
Buddhism is the major world religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha, who lived in the 6th and 5th century BC in ancient India. The Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths by which one can gain spiritual knowledge and escape the endless cycles of reincarnation. Mahayana Buddhism, the one of the two main branch of Buddhism, asserts that by following the six perfections that a Buddhist can move along the path to Enlightenment. Tibetan Buddhism of the Bodh people is part of Mahayana Buddhism. These tenets of Buddhism have far less meaning than their traditional beliefs, which are usually animistic. In animism, evil spirits must be appeased through prayers, sacrifices and rituals. Buddhism allows people to mix Buddhist teachings with traditional religion.
Two of the important Buddhist yearly holidays are Vesak, the Buddha's birthday celebrated in May or June and Bodhi Day, the holiday in December or January which commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment under a Bodhi tree.
The Bodh would greatly benefit from access to modern medicine. Solar panels can provide the Bodh with electricity. Most of all, the Bodh need to hear and understand the good news of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.
Ask God to raise up Bodh people who are more desirous to know the truth concerning Jesus Christ.
Ask God to send workers to the Bodh of Pakistan in the near future.
Pray the Bodh would have a desire to read the Bible.
Ask the Lord to raise up a disciple making movement among the Bodh of Pakistan.
Scripture Prayers for the Bodh (Buddhist traditions) in Pakistan.
Peoples of the Buddhist World, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission