TIBETAN PEOPLE POPULATION ECONOMY

   
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Fascinating People

COLORFUL TIBETAN WOMEN - FASCINATING TIBETAN MEN

 

 

 
   
The populace of Tibet (TAR) and Tibetan regions varies. It the rural areas, for instance in Yushu the population is predominantly Tibetan. For the tourist who has more than a few days and is interested in the Tibetan culture, the rural areas are a definite MUST-SEE. With only a few days, the old city of Lhasa, the Barkhor kora circuit, is the best place to witness Tibetans in their everyday lives, dressed to the hilt, performing their rituals. At the end of 2000, the total population of all citizens in Tibet (TAR) was 2.62 million. In Lhasa, the Tibetan  population used to account for about 1/3, where 2/3 were Chinese. Projections for the population to grow from 300,000 to 700,000 in coming years will change the percentages dramatically. Travelers should consider putting Tibet on the top of their "bucket list" before more dramatic changes occur. Also consider visiting areas with a higher density of Tibetan population, like Yushu in the Amdo area.

There are communities other than Tibetan who also live in Tibetan areas; Han Chinese, Menpa, Dengs, Sherpa, and Luopa. Religions other than Tibetan Buddhism are Islam, Catholic and Christian, but Tibetans are strictly Tibetan Buddhists in a very real sense. The whole of Tibetan areas, not including the cities, is fairly wide open with only about 1.68 persons per square kilometer on the average. Of course this includes the mountain ranges and uninhabitable lands.
   
Ancestors of the present Tibetan people lived on both sides of the Tsangpo River and made their living by growing mainly barley and raising yaks. Nomads still live in yak-hair tents and spend their days roaming the hillside shepherding their yaks, and now sheep. Sheep are favored by the Chinese as was wheat during the Cultural Revolution. Tsampa, a barley staple is a highly favored food among Tibetans. Tsampa and yak butter tea! Yum!

Since education is expensive, more than an average nomads annual income, education for Tibetan children of farmers and nomads is not always possible. In the past, parents have sent their children over the mountains to get a free education, but that option has all but evaporated. Without education it it difficult for Tibetans to find work other than farming or raising animals, with a few owning tour services. Some other Tibetans find work through the tourist industry either as guides, peddlers, and selling photographs of their festooned yaks. Yes, the Tibetans ARE the attraction to this fascinating land, and with few resources this is one place they can make a few extra dollars to feed their families. For a few cents tourists can take wonderfully colorful photograph of these optimistic people and their animals...and even their children.

Since there is no welfare system in the country, life for Tibetans is often very difficult. The exception has been the sudden interest in Shilajit, used as an eternal youth serum or supplement, but as fads come and go, this isn't a stable living for rural Tibetans. Luckily this little run of luck has allowed them to buy motorcycles, small solar panels for their tents and sometimes even vehicles. Semi-nomadic lifestyle is another way of living, having a permanent house (of mud or stone), but taking white tents around the grasslands during the summer, rather than being in a black yak-hair tent all year round.

   

 

   
Following the path of Tibetan Buddhism provides a way for Tibetans to persevere in their hope for a better life, if not this one, then the next. Their daily rituals, prostrations, prayers and firm commitment to reach for enlightenment is the bond that keeps them together. The prayer wheels, weather large or small are filled with thousands of prayers and each turn of the wheel sends thousands of prayers out into the cosmos. Prostrations, repeated standing and laying down flat on the ground, demonstrates their commitment to follow Buddha's teachings, live the Dharma and honor the gods.

Before 1949 every family had at least one or more monks in their family. Still today, there is an enormous monk population. Monks usually reside in monasteries where they study, meditate and pray for their entire lives. Many times, monks enter the monastery at a young age of 10 or 12 years. Their job within the society is to offer service, blessings, and rituals to honor their gods. In Tibet, perhaps one-third of the population are monks, some still living in monasteries, but many wandering or living back in their homes due to regulations. There is also a large population of nuns living in nunneries, where possible.
*To sponsor a nun or monk, click here

Nuns have been a part of the religious landscape of Tibet since the 8th century. Traditionally, their status within Tibetan society and Buddhist institutions was not equal to that of monks. Unlike the large monastic universities (monasteries), nunneries were smaller, poorer and didn't often offer advanced philosophical studies. Some nuns practiced outside of the institutional system, remaining at home or seeking teachers on their own initiative. Becoming a nun is a default option for widows or those considered unsuited for marriage; it was also common that many families took pride in sending their daughter to a nunnery. *To sponsor a nun, click here or here or here.

*It is said that the merit from supporting one who walks the Noble path is great especially one who renounces the world on the spiritual path, enabling them to devote their time fully to the practice and study of the Dharma, and ensuring that the precious teaching of the Buddha will be preserved, ultimately bringing great benefits to all sentient beings!"

   

Although all Tibetans speak the Tibetan language, the dialect varies from region to region. The Lhasa dialect, for instance, is different from the Chamdo dialect and sometimes it becomes difficult for Tibetans to communicate with one another. With an expanse of land three times the size of Europe (pre-occupation), it is no wonder why traditional Tibet had so many dialects. If you look at the Tibetan written language, notice how artistic the script is, how flowing, friendly and unique. Unlike other Asian languages, it is not bold, square, absolute, but rather mystical. It is interesting how the language is so much like the people it represents. Tibetans are naturally warm, friendly, flexible and full of character. Most of the time, they represent their religion well, by being the sort of people they are striving to be even under grueling and frustrating circumstances. You'll be amazed at their enchanting smiles! Visit Tibet before it's nuances are lost forever. LEARN TIBETAN

   

 

 

 

 

 
       

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