Buddha Boy Not So Zen

The 20-year-old “Buddha Boy” of Nepal, who is famous for meditating in the dense forest of Ratanpur village since 2005 and whose followers claim is the reincarnation of the Buddha, beat up more than a dozen villagers last Thursday before locking them in a room. Ram Bahadur Bomjan told officials that the villagers were smoking cigarettes and disrupting his meditation.

Bara District police superintendent Manoj Neupane said in a phone interview, “Seventeen people have come to us claiming that they were beaten by Bomjan and we are investigating the issue.”

Bomjam, who claims to be in penance (or, meditating), has advocated non-violence and campaigned against the mass sacrifice of animals. Last year, he even addressed the public highlighting non-violence and peace.

Bomjam has claimed that he can mediate for months without eating food. But the 17 villagers, who say they were in the jungle to collect firewood, told police that Bomjam beat them and detained them. Police have sent the injured for medical checks in the nearby Bara Hospital.

The “Buddha Boy” told journalists and police that he slapped the villagers “as a punshiment” for smoking and mimicking him.

--Rajneesh Bhandari