Palden Dorje in meditation.
Ram Bahadur Bomjon (born May 9, 1989, sometimes Bomjan or Banjan), also known as Palden Dorje (his official Buddhist name), is from Ratanapuri village, Bara district, Nepal and drew thousands of visitors and media attention for spending months in meditation, allegedly without food or water, although this claim is widely contested. Nicknamed the Buddha Boy, he began his meditation on May 16, 2005, disappeared from his hometown on March 11, 2006, and reappeared elsewhere in Nepal on December 26, 2006 only to leave again on March 8, 2007. On March 26, 2007, inspectors from the Area Police Post Nijgadh in Ratanpuri found Bomjon meditating inside a bunker-like square ditch of seven feet.
According to his family and neighbours, Bomjon often acted differently from his childhood friends, frequently observing other people in worship and praying himself. He has been described as being born with a peaceful nature, and would never get into a fight or kill an animal. Beginning at the age of five he only took leftovers for food, and went hungry if there was nothing. He was accepted into the priesthood by Sombahadur Lama of Suhdha, Ward 8 of Chitwan Village Development Committee. He hesitated to shave his head as is typical for a Buddhist priest; photos show him with a full head of hair. At the end of his training his class went to Lumbini, birthplace of Gautama Buddha, but instead of returning directly home with the rest of his class he continued on to Dehradun to receive additional teaching.
Returning home from Dehradun, he became ill for some time, and when he recovered he walked with a limp. On May 16, 2005, he admonished his family not to kill animals or drink alcohol, then left home while they slept. A search was conducted and he was found meditating under a nearby pipal tree. He told his family to go home and not worry. When his mother continued to despair, he plucked six leaves from the tree and gave them to her, saying, “Take these leaves home and keep them in a safe condition. If you lose these leaves, you will not be able to find me. If you keep them safe, I will remain with you forever.”
On July 24, 2005, he opened his eyes to tell his brother to call him “Om Namo Buddha Gyani” (“salute to the wise Buddha”. The phrase Buddha Gyani might not mean wise Buddha as much “one who has knowledge (gyan) of Buddha”).
Wandering to Bara district
After about ten months of meditation, Bomjon went missing on March 11, 2006. Due to his lack of explanation, some believed he was abducted. His followers theorized that he went deeper into the woods to look for a more quiet place to meditate. Police abandoned a search for him after the possibility of foul play was eliminated. Interestingly, the authorities froze the bank account of the local committee managing the crowds, which had gathered more than Rs. 600,000.
On March 19, a group of Bomjon’s followers met with him about 2 miles (3 kilometers) southwest of his meditation site. They say they spoke to him for thirty minutes, during which Bomjan said “there is no peace here” and that he would return in six years, or roughly 2011 or 2012. He left a message for his parents telling them not to worry.
On December 25, 2006, villagers in Bara district spotted Bomjon meditating. He was carrying a sword which he had used to protect himself in the jungle, reminding reporters that “Even Gautama Buddha had to protect himself,” and claimed to have eaten nothing but herbs in the interim. He reiterated his commitment to Buddhist devotion for six years and said he would allow people to come observe him as long as they kept away some distance and didn’t bother him. When a reporter pointed out that pilgrims to his meditation site would be making donations in his name, he asked not to abuse their donations or put them to commercial purposes. A new wave of visitors came to see him and pray at his new meditation spot. On 8 March 2007 he left Bara district to find a more quiet place to meditate again.
Meditating in pit
On March 26, 2007 Inspector Rameshwor Yadav of the Area Police Post Nijgadh found Bomjon inside a bunker-like square ditch of seven feet. A police team, under the command of Yadav, had gone to the place after word of Bomjon being on underground meditation spread in the area. “His face was clean and hair was combed well,” Yadav said. According to him, “the bunker” has been cemented from all sides with roof of tiles. Indra Lama, a local, who has been deployed as caretaker for him since he began meditation, said the “bunker” was prepared as per Bomjon’s order. “After granting audience a week ago, he expressed his desire to meditate inside the ground; so we built it,” he said. 
Bomjon’s story gained popularity because it resembled a Buddhist legend from the Jataka Nidanakatha about Gautama Buddha‘s enlightenment, so much so that some devotees claimed Ram was the reincarnation of the Buddha. However, on November 8, 2005 Dorje arose and said to the public, “Tell the people not to call me a Buddha. I don’t have the Buddha’s energy. I am at the level of rinpoche.” A rinpoche is the level of a teacher, which indicates he believes he has achieved a significant amount. He said that he will need six more years of meditation before he may become a Buddha.
According to his followers, Bomjon could be a Bodhisattva, a person on the path to attaining full enlightenment of Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. According to the historical Buddha, Gautama Buddha, there were innumberable Buddhas before him and infinite Buddhas to come in future. Proponents claim that Bomjon could also be the emanation of Maitreya Bodhisattva, the predicted successor to Sakyamuni.
It is reported that his mother fainted when she found out that her son meditated for an undefined period of time. His mother’s name is Maya Devi Tamang, the same first name as Buddha’s mother.
Claims of inedia
An average human being who stops drinking will die of dehydration in three to four days. According to the Guinness Book of Records the longest time a human has survived without water is 18 days. The boy’s followers claimed the boy went for several months without drinking any water. Skeptics considered Bomjon’s purported ability to survive without food or water an elaborate hoax, while Nepalese security sources claimed that the money collected from tourists went to Maoist rebels. The boy’s handlers denied such charges.
Bomjon was observed not to leave the tree at least during the daytime, but nobody was allowed to approach him too closely. Between 5:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. nobody was allowed to see him, and a screen was erected for that purpose. Many people speculated that he ate and drank water during that time.
Some supporters believe that Bomjon’s claims of inedia are irrelevant, and that the ability to sit nearly motionless in the same position day after day, with no regard for extremes of weather including a cold winter and a monsoon season, is notable. Bomjon’s local supporters claimed that the money donated by visitors is used to provide security and assert that he meditates all night, although these claims are highly suspect due to the opportunities for financial gain. In addition to an entrance fee, books, pamphlets, and cassettes have all been sold promoting Ram as a new Buddha.
In December 2005, a nine-member government committee led by Gunjaman Lama watched Bomjon carefully for 48 hours and observed him not to take any food or water during that time. A video recording was also made of this test. However, they were unable to approach closer than 3 meters or take readings of his vital signs. A group of rationalist physicians tried to conduct an independent study but were prevented from doing so by the screen erected at night. The Nepalese government planned a more careful scientific study but this plan was later scrapped.
More recently, the Discovery Channel did record Bomjon’s meditation on a 96-hours non-stop video, and for those total of 4 days, Bomjon didn’t eat, drink, or move. Doctors interviewed in the documentary where stunned, and noted that for an explanation of Ram’s activities, the science textbooks must be rewritten. The documentary was later packed in the special show of ‘The Boy with Divine Powers’.
- ^ Bhagirath Yogi. “Nepal’s ‘Buddha’ boy goes missing“, BBC, 11 March 2006.
- ^ “Nepal freezes missing ‘Buddha Boy’ committee bank account“, newkerala.com, 14 March 2006.
- ^ “Nepalese Buddha Boy ‘reappears’“, BBC, 20 March 2006.
- ^ UPIN. “‘Buddha Boy’ emerges, then vanishes again“, United Press International, 20 March 2006.
- ^ [[Daily Telegraph, Buddha Boy found after retreating into jungle. 27 December 2006
- ^ eKantipur.com. ‘Buddha Boy’ Bomjon found in Bara jungle. 25 December 2006.
- ^ Gopal Sharma. “Nepal’s mystery “Buddha boy” reappears“, Reuters.
- ^ “Nepal Buddha Boy ‘sighted again’“, BBC, 26 December 2006.
- ^ Nepal’s ‘Buddha Boy’ does second vanishing act. 8 March 2007
- ^ Buddha Boy Update: Ram Bahadur Bomjon Now Meditating in Pit. 28 March 2007
- ^ Navin Singh Khadka. “Scientists to check Nepal Buddha boy“, BBC, 30 November 2005.
- ^ Connie Levett. “Buddha Boy has nation guessing: holy or hoax?“, The Age, 11 February 2006.
- ^ Ekantipur team. “The little Buddha of Bara“, Kantipur, 27 January 2006.
- ^ 
- ^ Rationalist International #150, 2 December 2005
- ^ http://www.discoverychannel.com.au/ontv/boy_with_divine_powers/index.shtml
- Boy in Nepal draws crowds; some say he’s Buddha reincarnate (USA Today)
- Pilgrims flock to see ‘Buddha boy’ said to have fasted six months (Telegraph)
- New Buddha in Nepal: Ram Bahadur Bomjon
- Palden Dorje Bio
- Buddhist Teachings
- Nepalese blog linking to video (in Nepali, with some English comments)
- Tamang website with details (in Nepali, with some English comments)
- BBC News video segment – 1:02 long – better view of tree top and fenced area for pilgrims
- Description of medical team in November 2005 and other details
- Buddha Boy has nation guessing – (Article published on February 11, 2006) Australian news site (TheAge.com.au), claiming “fire erupted from his chest” on January 19, 2006.
- Buddha Boy of Nepal (Blog with 25 min. video and summarized translation in English)
- Ram Bahadur Bomjon Poem
- Good compilation of previous info Late picture, with hair down to nostrils
- Blog account of a visit to the site
- Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum discussion Ram Bahadur Bomjan
- An Unofficial Summary of Discovery’s Channel “The Boy With Divine Powers”
- Google Group for sharing information about Ram Bomjon
Articles on his disappearance
- Missing ‘Teen Buddha’ Comes Back Armed – (The Himalayan Times) Monday, December 25, 2006
- Buddha Boy disappears
- Jungle search for teenage ‘Buddha’ (CNN/Associated Press) Saturday, March 11, 2006; Posted: 11:31 p.m. EST (04:31 GMT)
- Nepal’s pilgrims pray for return of ‘Buddha boy’ report of ‘sighting’; ‘Guru Mother’s prediction
- Prayers for Nepal’s missing ‘Buddha Boy’ Nothing new but well-written
-  Boy returns
- Same as previous story but with new picture of troops in the compound
- Devotees claim Nepal’s missing Buddha Boy found
- A few more details of his rediscovery
- NPR interview with GQ writer The writer went to observe Bomjon and was deeply affected
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