Ram Bahadur Bomjon

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Ram Bahadur Bomjon
राम बहादुर बामजान
Born
NationalityNepalese
Other namesPalden Dorje
Known forBuddha Boy
Parent(s)
  • Bir Bahadur Tamang
  • Maya Devi Tamang

Ram Bahadur Bomjon (Sanskrit: राम बहादुर बम्जन) born c. 1990, sometimes spelled Bomjan, Banjan, or Bamjan), previously known as Palden Dorje (his monastic name) is a controversial ascetic from Ratanapuri, Bara district, Nepal who gained widespread attention and media popularity because of perceived semblances to Gautama Buddha, leading to claims that he is a reincarnation of Gautama Buddha.

Details[edit]

In May, 2005, the 15 year old Bomjon left his home near the Indian border after a dream in which a god appeared to him and told him to do so, and sat amongst the roots of a pipal tree to meditate. [1] Claims suggest that for 10 months he rarely spoke, drank, ate, or even moved. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people visited the site to see the boy motionless for hours, days or as rumoured even months, or came in devotion to the possibility of an important spiritual event occurring. As a result of some of these claims, Bomjon's followers believe he is an incarnation of the historical Buddha, Gautama.[2] Bomjon has rejected any such comparisons, saying "Tell the people not to call me a Buddha. I don't have the Buddha's energy currently. I am at the level of a rinpoche."[3] Mahiswor Raj Bajracharya, the president of the Nepal Buddhist Council, has stated likewise: "We do not believe he is Buddha. He does not have Buddha's qualities".[4]

Then, on 11 March 2006 he went missing.[5] On 19 March 2006 Bed Bahadur Lama of the Om Namo Buddha Tapaswi Sewa Samiti (ONBTSS) told reporters that they had seen him in Bara District and that they had spoken to him for half-an-hour, during which Bomjon reportedly assured that he would return in six years.[6]

He was again seen in August 2007, preaching to crowds in Nepal’s Hallori jungle, around 100 miles south of Kathmandu.[7]

Controversies[edit]

Bomjon's followers have claimed that Bomjon meditates for months without eating or sleeping.[7]

In 2010, Bomjon was investigated for attacking a group of 17 villagers. Bomjon claimed that they were intentionally disturbing his meditation. However, the villagers said they were just looking for vegetables.[8][9][10][11] Bomjon claimed to have taken "minor action" against them with just his hands[8][9][10][11] after they had "tried to manhandle" him,[9][11] and stopped as soon as they apologized. However, the victims claim that for three hours he struck them on their head and back with an axe handle,[8][11] resulting in serious injury of one of the victims.[10][11] Bomjon refused to attend any potential trial, stating, "Do you think a meditating sage will go to the court to hear a case? I took action against them as per the divine law".[8][11]

In 2012 Nepal Police announced that they had rescued a Slovak woman from Bomjon's followers, but other reports claimed that she had been voluntarily released after media coverage of the kidnapping. Newsweek reported she had been taken from a hotel by two of Bomjon's men riding on a motorcycle and kept tied to a tree for three months and accused of practicing witchcraft in order to disturb the Boy’s meditation.[12] However another report claimed she had been kidnapped from a monastery. When she was released she had a broken arm.[13][14] A week after her release, Bomjon's siblings accused him of holding his brothers captive overnight, and beating his brothers and his sister.[15] Followers of Bomjon also assaulted five journalists and destroyed their cameras after they had recorded one of Bomjon's sermons.[13]

In September 2018, Bomjon was accused of raping an 18 year old nun repeatedly for nearly 2 years. During a press conference organized by women's rights groups, the nun also accused his wife of trying to keep the abuse hidden so as not to "attract attacks" on their religion. Supporters of Bomjon claim that the nun was in fact involved in theft, and had been ejected from the monastery.[16]

An investigation was opened in January of 2019 after complaints from family members that four devotees had gone missing from several of Bomjon's ashrams.[17] In the same month, police raided one of Bomjon's ashrams in Nepal, but he was not found.[18] On February 6th, 2020, the Sarlahi District Court issued an arrest warrant against Bomjon. The following day, police raided another one of his ashrams, but Bomjon again was not found. However, police did arrest one of his disciples, Gyan Bahadur Bomjan.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ George Saunders (7 May 2006). "The Incredible Buddha Boy". GQ.
  2. ^ "Nepalese Buddha Boy 'reappears'". BBC. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Nepal 'Buddha Boy' returns to jungle". Yahoo! News. 2008-11-22. Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  5. ^ Bhagirath Yogi (11 March 2006). "Nepal's 'Buddha' boy goes missing". BBC.
  6. ^ "Nepalese Buddha Boy 'reappears'". BBC. BBC. March 20, 2006. Archived from the original on April 12, 2006.
  7. ^ a b Buncombe, Andrew (November 11, 2008). "'Buddha Boy' reappears after year in jungle". The Independent. Archived from the original on December 25, 2008.
  8. ^ a b c d Bandari, Rai, Diwakar, Arun (July 26, 2010). "Police quizzes Buddha Boy over thrashing locals". The Himalayan Times. Archived from the original on August 1, 2010.
  9. ^ a b c Lang, Olivia (2010-07-27). "Nepal's 'Buddha boy' investigated for attacking group". BBC. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  10. ^ a b c Lamicchane, Upendra (July 24, 2010). "'Buddha Boy' thrashes locals". República (Nepalese newspaper). Archived from the original on July 29, 2010.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Lamicchane, Upendra (July 26, 2010). "'Buddha boy' unrepentant". República (Nepalese newspaper). Archived from the original on July 28, 2010.
  12. ^ PM, David Brennan On 1/7/19 at 12:30 (7 January 2019). ""Buddha Boy" spiritual leader investigated over missing followers and sexual abuse allegations". Newsweek.
  13. ^ a b "Nepal's Boy Buddha frees Slovak hostage". Hindustan Times. 27 March 2012.
  14. ^ "Nepal police rescue Slovak woman from followers of Buddha boy". Public Radio International.
  15. ^ BHANDARI, DIWAKAR. "Buddha Boy turns violent' thrashes siblings Holds three of his brothers hostage overnight". Himalayan Times. Archived from the original on 2014-02-08. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  16. ^ "'Ascetic' Ram Bahadur Bamjan accused of raping nun". Online Khabar. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  17. ^ Emburry-Dennis, Tom. "Ashram of 'Buddha boy' worshipped as reincarnation of Buddha raided by police after devotees 'disappear'". Independent.
  18. ^ Berlinger, Sugam Pokharel,Joshua (2019-01-11). "Police raid 'Buddha boy' ashram in Nepal". CNN. Retrieved 2022-02-01.
  19. ^ "Sarlahi court issues warrant against 'Buddha Boy', but police fail to track him down". kathmandupost.com. Retrieved 2022-02-01.