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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is he the reincarnation of Buddha?





This 18 year old shows no sign of starvation or dehydration, yet it’s believed he has been meditating for many months, sitting under a tree with his eyes closed, not moving, without food or water. He came forward to meet his thousands of followers in the jungles of Ratanpur, about 160km south at Katmandu.

The followers of Ram Bahadur Bamjam believe he is the reincarnation of Buddha and he blessed his devotees on Wednesday with a light tap on the head, considered to be the touch of the devine.


A Buddhist priest said Bamjan was expected to address his followers on November 18 and then disappear into the jungle again for meditation.


But not everyone is convinced. Several Buddhist scholars say that Bamjan is not the reincarnation of Siddhartha Gautama who was born in south western Nepal roughly 2,500 years ago and became revered as the Buddha, or Enlightened One.


"Being Buddha means the last birth and the highest level that can be achieved. There can be no reincarnation of Buddha, even though Buddhists believe in life after death," said Rakesh, a Buddhist scholar in Kathmandu who goes by only one name.


"Meditating without food does not prove that he is the reincarnation of Buddha," said Min Bahadur Shakya of the Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Methods, a Buddhist research centre in Kathmandu. "There is much study needed to be done."


But his followers are totally convinced of his divinity. "I have no doubt in my mind he is a God," said Meg Bahadur Lama, a local farmer. "He has been meditating without food and water and no human can achieve such a feat. I used to hear about such miracles in the past but now I got to see one."


Buddhism has about 325 million followers, mostly in Asia and teaches that every soul is recincarnated after death in another bodily form.