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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Will Scientists Get to Study the "Buddha" Boy?

Thousands are heading to Ratanpur, Nepal, to see 18-year-old Ram Bahadur Bamjan, who they believe is the reincarnation of Buddha. Earlier this week, Bamjan came out of the jungle where his followers say he has been meditating without food or water since 2005. After he spent six months in the jungle, scientists who heard about the boy hoped to study the teenager—without disturbing his meditation—to find out whether he had really survived that long without eating or drinking. While most people can live without eating for several weeks because the body has fat and protein stored up, the average person can go only a few days without water. There's no word on what, if anything, the scientists were able to discover about Bamjan's supposedly special powers.
Many Buddhist priests and scholars, however, have doubts over whether Bamjan is truly the Buddha reincarnated, even though Buddhism teaches that every soul is reincarnated after death in another body. "Being Buddha means the last birth and the highest level that can be achieved. There can be no reincarnation of Buddha, even though Buddhists believe in life after death," Rakesh, a Buddhist scholar in Katmandu, told the Associated Press.
"Meditating without food does not prove that he is the reincarnation of Buddha," added Min Bahadur Shakya of a Buddhist research center in Katmandu. "There is much study needed to be done."
As of now, Bamjan hasn't spoken on this topic in any of his speeches (it's reported that he has talked about peace and ending discrimination), but he's expected to address his followers again on Tuesday. —Heather Wax