Tibetan  Buddhists

When did Tibetan Buddhists first come to Canada?

In 1959, the national uprising of Tibetans against the Chinese government forced Tibetan Buddhists to flee to a different land. Most went to India and Nepal. However, India was unable to provide assistance for all the refugees.
The United Nations requested Canada to help accommodate the Tibetan refugees.
In March 1971, the first group of refugee Tibetans arrived in Quebec, Canada and have since been immigrating to Canada.

Where do Tibetan Buddhists predominately gather in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)?

A number of Tibetans live in Toronto (South Parkdale and South Etobicoke districts).
Population estimate in the GTA: 8,000+

What are Tibetan Buddhists' lives like?

  • Tibetans are respectful, hard-working, creating wealth, and neighbourly.
  • Tibetans are understandably more insular and less hospitable to outsiders, until trust and rapport is built.
  • The biblical emphasis on the unconditional love of God toward individuals is a difficult idea for Tibetan Buddhists to understand since it isn’t an existing concept in their language.
  • Some anecdotal evidence suggests that some Tibetan Buddhist parents work in cafes and some Tibetan Buddhist fathers work in the construction business.
  • Some anecdotal evidence suggests that some older Tibetan Buddhist brothers sacrificially work more than one job so that their younger siblings can go to college/university.
  • In the 2016 census, about 69% of South Parkdale residents (which would include some portion of Tibetan Buddhists living there) were estimated to be at or under the poverty line.
  • Tibetans in the GTA usually have 4-5 kids.

PRAY
for Tibetan Buddhists in the GTA

"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-for He grants sleep to those He loves 
(Psalm 127:1-2)
"
  • Pray for Tibetan Buddists to have a desire to search for the Truth by opening their hearts, to at least listen to and try to understand the Gospel.
  • Pray God will loosen Satan's grasp via some parts of Tibetan Buddhist culture, history, beliefs, and family honor as potential roadblocks to Tibetans following Christ.
  • Pray that God would raise up laborers and evangelists among Tibetan Buddhists in the GTA to share the Gospel, disciple believers, and start churches.
  • Pray that God would lead Indian and Nepali Christians to South Parkdale and to Etobicoke to share the gospel boldly and lovingly with Tibetan Buddhists.
  • Pray that Tibetans Buddhists will enjoy their family life & that God will use Tibetans’ family time as a time to share His love and mercy.
  • Pray that Canadian followers of Jesus  will bring His Good News to every Tibetan Buddhist family.

Prayer Resources

Prayercast is a website dedicated to activating prayer around the world.
For prayer resources on Buddhists, click the Prayercast logo.

What do Tibetan Buddhists believe?

  • Tibetan Buddhists have a strong desire to preserve their cultural and religious identity in Canada.
  • They strongly believe in non-violence and peace.
  • Tibetan Buddhists are taught to have great respect for their parents.
  • A strong emphasis on the sense of Tibetan “community” verses the radical individualism of the west.
  • Their main religion is Tibetan Buddhism; therefore, they believe in karma and reincarnation.
  • Tibetan Buddhism has roots in the Bon religion, which involves the occult. Faith centres around the Dalai Lama who is considered as a type of god-king. They practice their faith at shrines in their homes. Some believe that Tibetan Buddhist monks can accomplish some good works that the average Tibetan Buddhist is incapable of doing. 
  • They do not believe in a Creator God, but in the interconnectedness of all things.
  • Many live in fear of the demonic; as a result, they feel an obligation to try and appease/placate evil spirits.
  • There are a few places of worship such as the Riwoche Tibetan Buddhist Temple of Toronto.

Quick Facts

Test
Place of Origin:  Tibet, which is located on the southwest of China bordering India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Bhutan. In 1959, the Dalai Lama finally fled Tibet and escaped to India after hoping for a number of years that things could be worked out with the Chinese authorities and a peaceful settlement could be reached. China has had a ruling presence in Tibet  starting in 1949-50. However,  Tibetans still believe in the Tibetan nation and see themselves as an independent state.
Language:  Tibetan
Religion:  Tibetan Buddhism
Population:  3.2 million
The meaning of the Tibetan flag:  The symbolism of the flag includes the mountain representing Tibet, the snow lions of "a unified spiritual and secular life," three-colored jewel of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. The Tibet flag has been banned from mainland China.
Status in GTA:  Tibetan Buddhists in South Parkdale and in Etobicoke are recognized as one of the most unreached people groups in the world; Tibetan Buddhists in the GTA comprise the 2nd-largest population of their people group outside of China, India, and Nepal. We know of 10 or 11 Tibetan Buddhist-background followers of Jesus in the GTA. 

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