Written records of Tibetan history have survived from the seventh century, but it is known that nomadic tribes roamed Tibet as early as the second century B.C. The cradle of Tibetan civilization is the Yarlung Valley area, about fifty miles southeast of Lhasa. According to tradition, the union of a monkey and a she-devil created the Tibetan race.
Around 600 AD, the warrior-king of Yarlung, Namri Gampo, unified the clans of Tibet. He acquired a princess from Nepal and second one from China to be his wives. Under the persuasion of these two women, he combined the ancient Tibetan religion of Bon (a mixture of magic, divination, demon worship and sacrifices) with Buddhist teachings. The resultant Tibetan Buddhism is the lifeblood of the Tibetan people.
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.” There are historical accounts referring to Christians in Tibet before 1000 AD, but today only one or two small Tibetan fellowships exist.
Bibles and Bible portions exist in the Tibetan language. Christian audio, video (such as the Jesus film) and printed materials, as well as some ethnic worship music, are also available. However, messengers wanting to present the gospel to Tibetans must face a variety of difficult obstacles not present even among other unreached people groups.