November 14, 2008

Buddha Boy Raises Hopes

Anyone have direct information on this young man? He's supposed to make a public statement on Nov. 18. Please post a comment and share what you know.

From The Times, November 13, 2008
Thousands flock to see 'Buddha Boy' in Nepalese jungle
Thousands of pilgrims have flocked to a remote jungle in southeast Nepal after a 17-year-old boy whom some believe to be a reincarnation of the Buddha emerged after more than a year in the forest.
Ram Bahadur Bamjan appeared on Monday to preach in a temple in Ratanpur, southeast of Kathmandu. Dubbed “Buddha Boy” by the press, and dismissed as a charlatan by some, the teenager first garnered headlines in 2005 when tens of thousands of devotees travelled to see him as he sat crosslegged amid the roots of a tree for nearly ten months without, it was claimed, food or water.
This week the long-haired Bamjan, attired in a gleaming white cloth, appeared to be in good health when he spoke to his followers about fostering peace and ending discrimination.
He plans to give similar audiences for the next week or so. A police spokesman said: “The whole jungle area where he has appeared has turned into a festival and around 10,000 people came to see him on Monday.”
[…] There has not been any official statement from Buddhism’s authorities on Bamjan. Min Bahadur Shakya, of the Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Methods in Kathmandu, said: “Meditating without food does not prove that he is reincarnation of Buddha. There is much study needed to be done.”
Dr K. T. S. Sarao, head of Buddhist studies at the University of Delhi, said: “In this part of the world religion incites very strong feelings.
“Science is unable to explain all of the world . . . if you’re asking for my personal opinion, well I’m a rationalist sceptic.”

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