Thursday, September 30, 2010

Buddha Boy beats locals?

"I took minor action against them after taking them under control when they came to disrupt my meditation. I let them go after they apologized," Republica quotes a second hand source as saying.

Did Buddha Boy really stand up to instigators? Nepal's most famous meditator, Ram Bahadur Bomjon (Palden Dorje), came to international prominence as a teenager in 2005 by fasting (completely abstaining from food and water) in the forest while meditating.

To this day, no reports of the fast being broken have come to the attention of Wisdom Quarterly. Buddha Boy got his name by behaving like Siddhartha, the historical Buddha, who is also thought to have been born in modern Nepal (although this is disputed) when it was a part of greater India. He then meditated for six years to reach enlightenment. Similarly, Buddha Boy has said he needs six years of intense, undisturbed meditation.

Following in Gautama Buddha's footsteps

Bomjon is now being investigated along with his attendants for scuffling with 17 local villagers. Various reports explain that the villagers came to disturb his meditation, provoking him by jumping on his platform and mimmicking him. Other reports point out that the villagers were criticized for engaging in Hindu animal sacrifices at Nepal's 2009 Goddess Gadhimai festival. Buddha Boy took a very unpopular stand in Nepal by condemning the ritual slaughter.

Buddha Boy on animal cruelty

Reports claim Bomjon admitted he and his attendants struck villagers with hands and sticks. His story is that they climbed onto his meditation platform and mimicked him. "I was therefore forced to [slap them two or three times]," a BBC reports him as saying.

Nepal's Republica quotes the president of his support group as claiming that Bomjon had said, "I took minor action against them after taking them under control when they came to disrupt my meditation. I let them go after they apologized."

The villagers -- perhaps hoping to parlay the situation into a monetary settlement or perhaps to discredit the Buddhist Bomjon in a Hindu country -- say they were beaten relentlessly even after they apologized. One man had a head injury that he said resulted from being hit with an axe handle. The villagers, who said they were innocently foraging for fruits and vegetables before they were assaulted, have filed formal complaints with local police.

The Hindustan Times reports that Buddha Boy has let it be known that he cannot be bothered to attend a court hearing. He is, after all, a saddhu (religious mendicant) in a society that still holds such recluses in the highest regard, awe, and even fear.

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