Devotees of Nepal’s “Buddha Boy” Ram Bomjon (Ram Bahadur Bamjan) tend to accept tales of his supernatural powers without even a fig leaf of doubt. The Wisdom Quarterly American Buddhist Journal, upon hearing stories that Bomjon has gone for years without eating any food, merely states that “no reports of the fast being broken have come to the attention of Wisdom Quarterly,” as if the burden of proof is on people who are skeptical that anyone can live for very long without eating.
Believer Anna Biela wrote a song for Ram Bomjon in which she ascribed all sorts of wonderful qualities to the boy who sits still during the day and is screened from view by his servants at night. She calls him “pure”, “loving and caring”, “compassionate” and “respectful of all sentient beings”.
He’s in the silence
From the human race
Excluding violence from the human race? Maybe, except for the 17 local villagers that he and his servants beat up. Ram Bomjon says that the villagers disturbed his meditation, and “I was therefore forced to beat them.” Ram Bomjon and his servants hit the villagers repeatedly with their fists and with sticks, and kept them captive until they apologized for interfering with his pursuit of enlightenment.
Ram Bomjon’s supporters keep on talking about how much Bomjon is like the Buddha, but what would Buddha do in such a situation? The stories of the Buddha speak directly to this question. It is said that when the Buddha sat underneath a pipal tree to seek enlightenment, Mara, a spirit of worldly attachment, came to disturb the meditation. Mara mocked the Buddha and sent entire armies to attack him. The Buddha did not gather his friends together to attack Mara in response. He merely touched his fingers to the Earth as a sign of his calm determination.
When Ram Bomjon hit people with a stick, he was not doing what the Buddha would have done. The Buddha taught that the idea that anyone is ever “forced to beat” anyone else is foolishness.
Is Ram Bomjon’s idea of the Middle Way that it’s okay to attack people violently, just so long as you don’t kill them? That’s some enlightenment.