Nepal 'Buddha Boy' returns to jungle

KATHMANDU, Nov 22, (AFP) -A young man who is believed by followers to be a reincarnation of Buddha has returned to Nepal's jungles to meditate alone, police said Saturday, as scholars cast doubt on his supporters' claims.

Known as the “Buddha Boy,” Ram Bahadur Bomjam, 18, became famous in 2005 after supporters said he could meditate motionless for months without water, food or sleep.

Nepalese youth Ram Bahadur Bomjam sits under a pipal tree before an audience gathered to listen to his sermon in the village of Ratanpuri in Bara district,some 100 kms (62 miles) south of Kathmandu on Friday. AFP

“Bomjam went back into the jungle late Friday, and all the devotees have left,” local police officer Gobinda Kushwaha told AFP from Neejgad, a town in Bara District, 60 kilometres (37.5 miles) south of Kathmandu.

The “Buddha Boy” reappeared earlier this month, after his supporters had said in March 2007 that he was going to meditate for three years in an underground bunker, although he was spotted on two occasions.

For the last 10 days, he has been blessing thousands of devotees who came daily to the site in dense jungle close to Neejgad.

The president of the Nepal Buddhist Council said claims by his supporters that he was a reincarnation of Siddartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, were not credible.

“We do not believe he is Buddha. He does not have Buddha's qualities,” said Mahiswor Raj Bajracharya, president of the Nepal Buddhist Council, a centre for Buddhist study and research in Kathmandu.

“He may have achieved great heights in meditation, but that alone does not make him a Buddha. A Buddha needs life experience, a young man who has not seen the world at all cannot be a Buddha,” said Bajracharya.

The head of the committee that organises events around Bomjam continues to claim that he survives without food and water.

“We have never seen him eat or drink and we believe he is a god in human form,” said Bed Bahadur Thing, president of the Buddha Jungle Meditation Conservation and Prosperity Committee.

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