Bad Boy Buddha
( This article was first published at TheTempleSpace.com )
I think people assume that Meditation can cure everything. Here is a story about a highly-skilled meditation practitioner, who has since become an absolute car-crash. This story goes to show that without other aspects such as sanity, healthy people, and self-discipline, then meditation is worthless. It is the story of the Buddha Boy, also known as Bomjon…
The Buddha Boy – a miracle
In 2005 Ram Bahadur Bomjon became known as Buddha Boy. He was a 15 year old Nepalese child at the time, and he went into the forest to sit under a tree and started meditating his way to Enlightenment. He was an odd kid, even his mother said so, but because of his gift for stillness, some said he was actually the reincarnation of the Buddha. He believed it too, and set out to prove it.
He did a pretty convincing job of it too, he did not move, or eat, for 10 months. Just sat under the tree. People came and went, it soon became a big global news sensation, many thought he was faking it, but no one could prove it. It seemed this kid had real spiritual powers.
His hair and nails grew long, his body grew thinner, but not emaciated, sometimes lights seemed to appear above his head and dance about, and this was witnessed by people who would not lie about such things. Even a reporter from UK magazine GQ ended up convinced after camping with the other disciples for a few weeks in the forest to monitor him. It seemed that the Buddha was back. It was a miracle!
Of course the Nepalese locals were dubious at first and made fun of it, but by the end of the first 5 months all the jokes and verbal berating from them started turning into acknowledged adulation at this boys gift. The kid was not moving, was not eating, was not getting up. Maybe…just maybe…The original Guru was back.
Of course an industry of ticket-selling sprang up, and fenced enclosures were built to protect the boy and for disciples to come and go. Still he did not move, and no skeptic could figure it out. It really was starting to look like it might be The Buddha after all. The Discovery Channel even filmed a documentary about him called The Boy With Divine Powers.
Then on March 11, 2006, the Buddha Boy promply disappeared. Someone said he was spotted walking deeper into the jungle. But eight days later, he appeared in his own village and told the elders that, “There is no peace here”, and that he was leaving to go continue his journey to enlightenment deeper in the forest. He then disappeared again.
Of course this just made all his disciples go bonkers and start looking for him, and all the more people now started to believe that he really was the reincarnation of the Buddha.
Guru or cow poo?
It was 2007 when I first heard this story and it piqued my interest. It was possible he had a gift to stay still for 10 months, he was clearly an adept meditation practitioner, but it was highly unlikely that he was going without food, and the dancing lights? They were just circus tricks, I had no doubts of that.
A lifetime of personal investigation has left me acutely aware that magic tricks are incredible, but they are still magic tricks. The mind can easily be fooled, mostly because it wants to be, we are bored, life is dull, we want miracles because we fail to see that we are already living in one.
But if you want a miracle, there is always someone out there willing to sell you one either for cash or for your utter devotion. Why? because it meets their narcissistic need to be adored, and our’s to absolve responsibility. It’s what rock stardom is all about, after all. We see it every day in our culture too. It’s not rare, it’s common as, well, cow poo. Instagram influencers are no different. It is all fakery.
I once had a magician fool me over and over again. He kept tearing up my five-pound note and then putting it back together and each time he pulled it from another place. Nothing that any of the audience did could show how he was doing it, and we all tried. He did not mind whatever we did to try to catch him out. No one could. He just kept doing the impossible right in front of our eyes. It was amazing, and I was grateful to him for saying quietly to me at the end – “it’s just a trick, it really isn’t magic”, because I was starting to doubt my own mind. That was a long time ago. I have been conned a hundred times since then, and sometimes in ways that I still cannot understand. That’s the nature of the game.
So, I parked the story of the Buddha Boy, and forgot all about it until recently.
Oh my…the things that have occurred since.
When Baby Buddha Goes Bad Ass
You have probably seen Apocalypse Now the movie, or at least heard about it. This story is like that, but multiply it by 10,000. You can get the full details from a variety of sources and here is one, but I will list a few of things the Buddha Boy has achieved since I last looked him up. He was 15 then, he is 30 now. He has been busy.
He now has tens of thousands of followers (400,000 was suggested as his total following head-count). It has developed into a full blown cult with it’s own name, he has changed the Buddhas suttas to his own version, changed the colour of the robes to blue, and is now self-lauded as a saint. All this is fine, kind of, until you read some of what he has been up to with his self-appointed saintdom and cult…
- Attacking a shepherd with a sword then claiming self defense.
- Kidnapping the same shepherd for three days.
- Beating up 17 local villagers who did not retaliate because they felt afraid of him.
- Refusal to appear to face court over it.
- Kidnapping of two women who were kept tied to trees, beaten, and raped continuously. (Rescued by Police so not exactly hearsay) One of the kidnapped women was a westerner looking after his Google Group, she is no longer a devoted fan.
- He ordered one of his drivers to charge a line and literally said, “kill people if you have to” rather than stop.
It gets worse…
Buddha Boy’s mum realised things had taken a turn so she sent her brothers in to the jungle to find him and bring back their baby sister who had joined him some time before. He kidnapped them both, held them for five days, then finally released them, but the sister had not been seen in that time. By then he had surrounded himself with a gang of “devotees” that amounted to thugs and local gangsters willing to do his dirty work for a price. More and more claims of torture, beatings, rape, and psychological bullying started to emerge as people escape his cult.
In 2014 a skirmish occured between his cult and the locals. He gave them a beating too, so the locals returned with about 100 more and got another beating, but this time the Buddha Boy’s posse also took two of locals hostage.
Another sister of his escaped his clutches, would not say what happened while she was with him, but she had clearly been beaten, and she died a year later from the injuries. Still the younger sister is missing along with a lot of other people unaccounted for.
An escapee who had been close to the great leader told of his mobile phone being full of porn and that the Buddha Boy takes yarsagumba to boost his libido. Then there was a bit of nun kidnap and rape added to the growing list.
Even his family is now claiming other missing people have been murdered. Investigations have opened, but not got very far.
There has been a question of why Nepal does not do anything, but it seems that he is actually too powerful to address currently. His believers still believe, and they are devoted.
Well, are we surprised by this? I was only surprised at the scale of psychotic madness, not at the fact that it happened.
I guess we can just watch and learn. Here is his wiki that seems to be about the most up-to-date source on where the sorry story has got to.
The Moral of the Story
Is there one? I don’t even know. It is just another tragic case of Guru’s going mad on power. I think it happens to the best of them. I have hunted high and low to find one that did not succumb to their own Kool-Aid, they always do. Even Osho had some very dubious things going on, and I kind of liked his stuff, but the back-story is as crooked as it comes.
It did not surprise me one bit to find out Buddha Boy went bad. I knew he would. But it is also a perfect example of why Meditation is NOT the answer to our problems, it is just a single tool in a larger tool kit. Meditation is powerful, it tunes the mind, it helps us develop one-pointed focus, but it can just as easily be used for bad things, as it can for good. You can be a good meditation practitioner and still be a totally psychotic asshole.
That is why we need the rest of the path: self-discipline, knowledge, wisdom, maturity, slow and gradual development of tried and tested methods and good ways of living, and above all the understanding that there are NO miracles above the one that we are already living in. If you cannot see that, then you will not find anything but misery in your gurus, or your god for that matter. And yes, believing in a deity really is no better, those monotheistic nut-jobs actually believe god speaks to them. (Most of the US Senate, and most world leaders btw!)
And that is another thing, there are no gurus worth following. There are leaders, and wise-people certainly, but learn from them, don’t get ass raped in the jungle and think your guru just blessed you, he didn’t, you just got ass raped in the jungle by a magician, is all. You got mugged.
Buddha Boy is a perfect example of how meditation skill bears very little factor on the well-being of our life. His story is certainly food for thought, and highly educational for the rest of us, in it’s own way.
( This article was first published at TheTempleSpace.com where Mark is a regular writer)