Tibetan, Central in Switzerland

Tibetan, Central
Photo Source:  szyj351 - Pixabay 
Map Source:  People Group location: Tibetan Association of Switzerland. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Tibetan, Central
Country: Switzerland
10/40 Window: No
Population: 8,100
World Population: 1,126,900
Primary Language: Tibetan, Central
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 0.01 %
Evangelicals: 0.01 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Tibetan
Affinity Bloc: Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Tibet lies between China and India with extensive mountain ranges. Tibet is called "the Roof of the World" and "the land of the snow." Over the centuries, Tibet has been occupied by nomadic tribes, the various clans of which were unified by the warrior-king of Yarlung and later by Mongolian conquerors, and then by Chinese rulers until the rise of the Dalai Lamas.
For centuries the Chinese have claimed Tibet as an unalienable part of China, despite the Tibetans being culturally, historically, linguistically, and religiously distinct from Chinese. In the 1950s, Communist China invaded and annexed Tibet. The brutality of the Chinese military along with persecution in various forms, caused thousands of Tibetans to flee to India and surrounding nations, from where many Tibetans found their way to countries of Western Europe including Switzerland.
In 1963 the Red Cross aided the first Tibetans to flee to Switzerland. A small number of Tibetan children were adopted by Swiss families. These were the first non-European refugees to arrive in Switzerland. The largest Tibetan community in Europe is in Switzerland.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Tibetan expats in Switzerland observe all major cultural, traditional, political, and religious holidays and events together with all supporters of Tibet and friends of the Tibetan community. They pass on awareness of Tibetan culture and identity to the younger generation through a monthly get-together.
The Tibetan community in Switzerland strives to increase awareness and knowledge of Tibet within and outside the Tibetan community, socio-politically, religiously and culturally.
The expat Tibetans in Switzerland meet in each other's homes to maintain closeness with each other and to enjoy their traditional dishes and culture. They also arrange sorts of activities such as football matches where both boys and girls participate. To keep ties to their roots, the community members support each other with donations and charitable contributions to arrange for prayers, gatherings conferences, mother tongue classes for Tibetan children, etc.
Tibetans in Switzerland protest human rights violations experienced in Tibet. They resent the Swiss government “assigning” them Chinese nationality when they arrive. Tibet was conquered by China’s Red Army in 1950, and Tibet has been a “province” of China ever since. Tibetans try to keep the Swiss government from coming closer to China because they fear this opens the door for China to send informants to Switzerland to spy on them.
Every year, the community gathers to celebrate the day the Fourteenth Dalai Lama received the Noble Peace Prize. They also celebrate his birthday. Events always begin with Buddhist prayer time followed by traditional Tibetan song and dance. Tibetan youth showcase their theatrical arts and ring dances. Since Tibetan culture is strongly influenced by Buddhism, most of their handicraft and art display Buddhist motifs.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Tibetan Buddhist religion is the life-blood of the Tibetan people. Tibetan Buddhism blended with the powerful shamanistic 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.
Tibetan Buddhists believe the Dalai Lamas are manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are realized beings, inspired by the wish to attain complete enlightenment, who have vowed to be reborn in the world to help all living beings.
His holiness Dalai Lama is currently the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibetans. The Tibetans also believe that Panchen Lama, recognized by Dalai Lama, as the reincarnation of the second highest of the religious leader, has been kidnapped the Chinese communist regime with no news about his whereabouts.
The new generation of Tibetans that has been born in Europe is Buddhist in name only. These youth often worship money more than they worship Buddha.

What Are Their Needs?

They are a people who have faced oppression and injustice. They need the ability to forgive their enemies and adapt to their new lives in Switzerland.

Prayer Points

Pray for workers to go to the Tibetan people in Switzerland, and for their hearts to be ready to receive the only savior, Jesus Christ.
Pray that the expat Tibetans will have a thirst for truth to find out the true meaning of the cross.
Pray for European Christian Mission (ECM), as they plant churches and demonstrate the message of the gospel through social action projects and compassion ministries.

Text Source:   Joshua Project