Ram Bahadur Bomjon
Ram Bahadur Bomjon (Sanskrit: राम बहादुर बामजान) (born c. 9 April 1990, sometimes spelt 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. It is possible that he is a Buddha, another who has attained, or will attain enlightenment. 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".
His mother's name is Maya Devi Tamang, the same first name as Buddha's mother. It is reported that his mother fainted when she found out that her son intended to meditate for an indefinite period.
Wandering to Bara district
After about ten months of meditation, Bomjon went missing on 11 March 2006. He gave no explanation, and some believed he had been abducted. His followers theorized that he went deeper into the woods to look for a quieter place to meditate. Police abandoned a search for him after the likelihood of foul play was eliminated. Suspecting money laundering, the authorities froze the bank account of the local committee managing the crowds, which had gathered more than Rs. 600,000, but they found no evidence.
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". This was his speech:
Murder, violence, greed, anger and temptation have made the human world a desperate place. A terrible storm has descended upon the human world, and this is carrying the world towards destruction. There is only one way to save the world and that is through dharma. When one doesn't walk the righteous path of spiritual practice, this desperate world will surely be destroyed. Therefore, follow the path of spirituality and spread this message to your fellows. Never put obstacles, anger and disbelief in the way of my meditation's mission. I am only showing you the way; you must seek it on your own.
What I will be, what I will do, the coming days will reveal. Human salvation, the salvation of all living beings and peace in the world are my goal and my path. "Namo Buddha sangaya, Namo Buddha sangaya, namo sangaya." I am contemplating on the release of this chaotic world from the ocean of emotion, on our detachment from anger and temptation, without straying from the path for even a moment: I am renouncing my own attachment to my life and my home forever. I am working to save all living beings. But in this undisciplined world my life's practice is reduced to mere entertainment.
The practice and devotion of many Buddhas is directed at the world's betterment and happiness. It is essential, but very difficult, to understand that practice and devotion. But though it is easy to lead this ignorant existence, human beings don't understand that one day we must leave this uncertain world and go with the Lord of Death. Our long attachments with friends and family will dissolve into nothingness. We have to leave behind the wealth and property we have accumulated.
What is the use of my happiness when those who have loved me from the beginning - my mother, father, brothers, relatives - are all unhappy? Therefore to rescue all sentient beings I have to be Buddha-mind and emerge from my underground cave to do vajra meditation. To do this I have to realize the right path and knowledge, so do not disturb my practice. My practice detaches me from my body, my soul and this existence. In this situation there will be 72 goddess Kalis. Different gods will be present, along with the sounds of thunder and of "tangur", and all the celestial gods and goddesses will be doing puja (worship). So until I have sent a message do not come here and please explain this to others. Spread spiritual knowledge and spiritual messages throughout the world. Spread the message of world peace to all. Seek a righteous path and wisdom will be yours.
Second speech excerpt:
Prayers of Kunchu Suma – message of peace for all living creatures and for the spiritual prosperity of humankind. Salutations to all spiritual seekers, saints, religions and all organizations.
After I was commanded by the spirit to save and uplift humankind and the creatures of the world, I have abided by the promise to save the ephemeral world from the ocean of emotions and to free the world from the worldly sins. I have been meditating (dhyana) to free humankind and all living creatures. All sentient beings want to get free from worldly sorrows and pains. But by birth, they are not equipped as humankind to seek after spirituality and get free. They are also praying to God (the source/spirit). They are happy to be in this world.
Humankind is creating traditions that will destroy the entire humanity and living creatures. In the name of religion killings, violence, anger, jealousy and divisions are being promoted. There is only one source; the spirit has one form; the souls of all humans are the same, only the tradition and customs are different. Always embrace the path of mercy, compassion, non-violence, peace; this is the message I want to convey to our society and to all the citizens of the world.
True spirituality, the true human spirit, will always search for truth. The search for truth is the only beneficial way for humans. Despite the existence of thousands of paths, chaos, greed, attachment, anger and jealousy have imprisoned our society and humankind. In this way the world is heading towards destruction. So, it is high time that the citizens of the world think about it. Humans should never forget their ultimate spiritual duty and their society. Refrain from killings, violence, greed, jealousy, attachments and evil character. Shed tears of mercy and compassion; show to the world the way of salvation.
After we die it is extremely difficult to get back a human life. Everyone thinks that we do not reincarnate after death. No, we receive a human life due to our virtuous work. We earn the fruits due to the merits of our work. Now the world is governed by three forms. The first form is greed, the second form is anger, the third form is attachment and jealousy that are ruling this world. May all the religious traditions change. All the religious people need to first find the truth and by cultivating mercy, compassion, non-violence and peace in their hearts they need to beautify the world with the way of salvation. I will continue to contemplate and meditate for the salvation of living beings by being focused in my path of wisdom until I find the ultimate form of enlightenment, the Samyak Sambodhi. Salute to the ultimate form of enlightenment and may peace be with everyone.
Feats of inedia
Bomjon does not appear to break his meditation to eat or drink.
Skeptics point out that claims of surviving after several months fasting are unsubstantiated as he was sometimes unobserved between dusk and dawn; they also claim 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.
In 2008, Min Bahadur Shakya of the Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Methods in Kathmandu, stated that Buddhist priests have yet to investigate Ram.
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. According to these claims, the incident took place in the Bara district and police have been involved in the investigation after seventeen complaints. Bomjon was quoted as saying that some 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.
A Slovak woman held captive for three months by followers of Ram Bahadur Bomjon, was released on March 25, 2012.
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