Ram Bahadur Bomjon
Ram Bahadur Bomjon (Sanskrit: राम बहादुर बामजान) (born c. 9 April 1990, sometimes spelled Bomjan, Banjan, or Bamjan), also known as Palden Dorje (his monastic name) and now Dharma Sangha, is from Ratanapuri village, Bara district, Nepal. Some of his supporters have claimed that he is a reincarnation of the Buddha, but Ram himself has denied this, and many practitioners of Buddhism agree that the Buddha has entered nirvana and cannot be reborn.
He drew thousands of visitors and media attention by spending months in meditation. Nicknamed the Buddha Boy, he began his meditation on May 16, 2005. He reportedly disappeared from the hollow tree where he had been meditating for months on March 16, 2006, but was found by some followers a week later. He told them he had left his meditation place, where large crowds had been watching him, "because there is no peace". He then went his own way and reappeared elsewhere in Nepal on December 26, 2006, but left again on March 8, 2007. On March 26, 2007, inspectors from the Area Police Post Nijgadh in Ratanapuri found Bomjon meditating inside an underground chamber of about seven square feet.
On 10 November 2008, Bomjon reappeared in Ratanapuri and spoke to a group of devotees in the remote jungle.
Bomjon is a member of the Tamang community.
Bomjon's story gained popularity because it resembled a legend from the Jataka Nidanakatha about Gautama Buddha's enlightenment. This led some devotees to claim Ram was the reincarnation of a Buddha. On 8 November 2005 Dorje said, "Tell the people not to call me a Buddha. I don't have the Buddha's energy. I am at the level of a rinpoche." Rinpoche ("precious jewel") is an honorific used in Tibetan Buddhism for a teacher and adept. He said that he will need six more years of meditation before he can become a Buddha.
According to his followers Bomjon may have been or may be a bodhisattva, a person on the path to attaining full enlightenment or Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. According to the founder of Buddhism, Gautama Buddha, there were innumerable Buddhas before him and there are an infinite number of Buddhas to come. Others claim that Bomjon may be Maitreya Bodhisattva, the predicted incarnation of the future Buddha. Scholars doubt the claims of his supporters. Mahiswor Raj Bajracharya, president of the Nepal Buddhist Council, has said, "We do not believe he is Buddha. He does not have Buddha's qualities".
Wandering to Bara district
Bomjon went missing on 11 March 2006. His followers theorized that he went deeper into the woods to look for a quieter place to meditate.
On 19 March, a group of Bomjon's followers met with him about 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of his meditation site. They say they spoke to him for thirty minutes, during which Bomjon said, "There is no peace here," and that he would return in six years, which would be in 2011 or 2012. He left a message for his parents telling them not to worry.
On 25 December 2006, villagers in Bara district spotted Bomjon meditating. He was carrying a sword for protection in the jungle, reminding reporters that "Even Gautama Buddha had to protect himself," and claimed to have eaten nothing but herbs in the interim. He reiterated his six-year commitment to Buddhist devotion, and said he would allow people to come and observe him, as long as they remained at some distance and did not bother him. When a reporter pointed out that pilgrims to his meditation site would be making donations in his name, he asked for the donations to not be abused or used for commercial purposes. A new wave of visitors came to see him and pray at his new meditation spot. On 8 March 2007 he left Bara district again to find a quieter place to meditate.
Meditating in a pit
On 26 March 2007, news spread of Bomjon meditating underground. Inspector Rameshwor Yadav of the Area Police Post Nijgadh, found Bomjon inside an underground chamber, a bunker-like ditch seven feet square. "His face was clean and hair was combed well," Yadav said. According to him, the chamber had been cemented from all sides and fitted with a tiled roof. Indra Lama, a local deployed as Bomjon's caretaker since the beginning of his intensive meditation, said the chamber was prepared per Bomjon's request. "After granting audience a week ago, he expressed his desire to meditate inside the ground; so we built it," he said.
Preaching in Halkhoriya jungle
On 2 August 2007, Bomjon addressed a large crowd in Halkhoriya jungle in the Bara district of southern Nepal. The Namo Buddha Tapoban Committee, which is devoted to looking after Bomjon, assembled the meeting. A notice about the boy's first-ever preaching was broadcast by a local FM radio station, and the committee also invited people by telephone. Around three thousand people gathered to listen to Bomjon's address. A video was made of the event. According to Aditya Sedhai, a blogger who wrote an article and took pictures of the meeting, Bomjon's message was, "The only way we can save this nation is through spirituality".
Claims of inedia
Skeptics point out that claims of surviving after several months fasting are unsubstantiated as he was sometimes unobserved between dusk and dawn; they also note that, besides the lack of proof, such a feat would be physically impossible. Bomjon was observed remaining at the tree at least during the daytime, though no one was allowed to approach him too closely. Under such circumstances, he could have eaten at night when no one could have witnessed his doing so.
Some supporters believe that claims of inedia are less relevant than Bomjon's undisputed ability to remain nearly motionless in the same position day after day, with no regard for extremes of weather including cold winter and monsoon rains. For example, American writer George Saunders visited Bomjon and observed him through a single night, and was impressed by Bomjon's perfectly still stature, even during an evening climate which seemed unbearably cold to the much better clothed journalist.
In December 2005, a nine-member government committee led by Gunjaman Lama watched Bomjon carefully for 48 hours and observed his not taking any food or water during that time. A video recording was also made of this test from a distance of 3 meters. The Nepali government planned a more careful scientific study, but the study was never carried out.
Reappearance in Ratanpuri jungle
On 10 November 2008, Bomjon reappeared and gave blessings to approximately 400,000 pilgrims over a 12-day period in the remote jungle of Ratanpuri, 150 km (93 mi) southeast of Kathmandu, near Nijgadh. His hair was shoulder-length and his body was wrapped in a white cloth. He made two speeches in which he urged people to recognize the compassion in their hearts, and their connection to one another through the all-encompassing soul.
Non-appearance in 2009 at the Gadhi Mai Mela
Palden Dorje planned to give blessings on 18–23 November 2009 at the site of the Gadhi Mai Mela, a Hindu vedic religious festival where hundreds of thousands of animals are sacrificed, something he has condemned. However, alleging 'security reasons', priests were unwilling to allot a space for him.
The BBC quoted a local Nepali newspaper which claimed that Bomjon had admitted to slapping some local villagers after having been physically assaulted by them on July 22, 2010. Bomjon said locals had been interrupting his meditation by climbing onto his platform, mimicking him, and attempting to manhandle him, and that he was "therefore forced to beat them". According to the newspaper, he claims he slapped them "two or three times", while the attackers alleged that they had been assaulted more seriously. Bomjon had been fasting before the altercation.
- Bell, Thomas (21 November 2005). "Pilgrims flock to see 'Buddha boy' said to have fasted six months". The Telegraph (Bara District, Nepal). Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- "Nepal 'Buddha Boy' returns to jungle". Yahoo! News. 2008-11-22. Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Navin Singh Khadka (30 November 2005). "Scientists to check Nepal Buddha boy". BBC (Kathmandu). Retrieved 5 February 2014.
- Bhagirath Yogi (11 March 2006). "Nepal's 'Buddha' boy goes missing". BBC.
- "Nepalese Buddha Boy 'reappears'". BBC. 20 March 2006.
- Daily Telegraph, Buddha Boy found after retreating into jungle. 27 December 2006
- "Nepal Buddha Boy 'sighted again'". BBC. 26 December 2006.
- Buddha Boy Update: Ram Bahadur Bomjon Now Meditating in Pit. 28 March 2007
- "Video Clip Taken in Halkhoriya Jungle in August 2, 2007(Sharawan 17 th)". Official Site of Ram Bahadur Bomjan. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008.
- Ram Bahadur Bomjom, the Buddha Boy, Starts Preaching: Arrival of a Meditation Guru or a Religious Zealot?. 3 August 2007
- "How long can a person survive without food?". Scientific American.
- GQ. The Incredible Buddha Boy
- Indra Adhikari (12 March 2006). "The "Little Buddha" goes missing". Nepalnews.com. Archived from the original on 28 March 2006.
- "Om Namo Guru Buddha Gyani". Paldendorje.com. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- Lang, Olivia (2010-07-27). "Nepal's 'Buddha boy' investigated for attacking group". BBC. Retrieved 2012-02-17.