Ram Bahadur Bomjan
, a young man of fifteen, has allegedly been “meditating at the base of a peepal tree in Nepal’s Bara District, without food, water, sleep or the need to use the toilet” — for nine months now. A peepal tree is kind of a big deal in Buddhism — the Bodhi Tree
, under which the Buddha sat until he achieved enlightenment, was a peepal tree.
I’ve been following this story as best I can for a few months now (here’s an earlier story
from which I cribbed the image of Ram), but still can’t make up my mind whether this is an elaborate hoax or something of a miracle. I do not buy into the speculation that Ram is the new Buddha — as I understand it, the next Buddha (the tenth Buddha, the Maitreya Buddha
) will not arrive until the Shakyamuni Buddha
(the ninth Buddha, born Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha we refer to when we just say “the Buddha”) is completely forgotten, along with his dharma. But I do know this: I feel sorry for the cynics and the hard-core scientist types who immediately respond
that there is no freaking way this is on the level, that what is purported to be happening here is simply not possible, period. I think the world would be a more peaceful place if every human mind were open enough to consider the possibility of miraculous events and undertakings. As I have pointed out before
, “There are things your science cannot explain, doctor.” And even if this is
a hoax, even if Ram is
secretly chowing down and taking dumps each night, that this young man can meditate all day long, day in, day out, for months on end — that is something in and of itself, and I freely admit, there is a part of me that envies that ability. And that stillness.