Ram Bomjon, a Buddhist celebrity guru in Nepal, started out as a teenager a few years back, meditating while sitting still under a tree, claiming not to have eaten, had anything to drink, or even to have moved for several weeks straight. Of course, Bomjon’s friends did conceal him from view during the night, and doctors were never allowed to come close to him. With suspicions of fraud growing, Ram Bomjon ran off into the forest, carrying a sword, just as Nepali police officers were about to begin an investigation of what was really going on at the Bomjon camp.
“Even the Buddha had to protect himself,” said Bomjon after he reappeared a few months later. Actually, the legends are that the Buddha did not have to defend himself, but could merely pierce through the illusion of reality so that his opponents’ weapons became soft and fragrant flower petals.
Never allowing details to stop them, Bomjon’s devotees continued to proclaim that their guru was the newest incarnation of the Buddha, even though the Buddha was supposed to have escaped the cycle of rebirth. They gave him new names to celebrate his holiness, including Palden Dorje and Sambodhi Dharma Sangha.
Ram Bomjon was caught up in a cycle of deceptions that were obvious to outsiders, but rationalized by his fervent disciples, who continued to bow down to him even as he alternated lectures about nonviolence with a campaign of escalating physical violence against his critics. This year, Ram Bomjon beat and held several people hostage in his camp, including some of his own siblings.
With the police closing in on him again, Bomjon and nine of his closest followers have fled their meditation complex in the Halkhoria forest. They were last seen at a police checkpoint crowded into a jeep, saying that they were headed to the east, into the region of Sindhuli. The jeep was later found, abandoned, on the side of the highway.
Forest Service officials in Nepal have now destroyed about a dozen buildings built by Ram Bomjon and his followers in the Halkoria forest, and have taken back the land used by Bomjon near Ratanpuri, so that the land may return to its wild state. So, if Sri Palden Kick Ass wants to set up a new meditation center for himself, he’ll have to start from scratch.