13 November 2008

The Buddha Reincarnated?


This is a story I have been following for a while. I have not written about it in the past and there is not any reason as to why I have not. I studied a little bit about Buddhism when I was younger and first exploring the idea of my own personal spirituality and what I believe in. I have always believed in an idea that we as people can reach an enlightened state of being and that things become much clearer to us and for us.

For some this is a belief in God and for others this might just be a simple belief that there is something greater than ourselves out there. This post is not getting into a debate on the pros and cons of religion per se and arguments that if one does not accept a belief in God then they are a poster child for the devil.

This is a post about a kid who has meditated for months without food and water. There are some that even go so far as to say that this meditation and no (or reduced) food and water intake has been ongoing since 2005.

The kid, Ram Bahadur Bamjan, was first sighted in the jungles of Nepal. He was by all accounts easy enough to spot, as he was sitting cross-legged in deep meditation under a tree with his eyes closed and no movement.

This ability brought the masses out in order to witness this spectacle. The crowds became so large and so frequent that Ram did a runner. He disappeared deeper into the jungle and was not to be seen again. Well, not until he re-emerged this week at Ratanpur.

Ram looks pretty healthy for an 18-year-old that has been in deep meditation and without food and water for an extended period (photo courtesy of AP).

However, the kid is not without his detractors and skeptics. The skeptics cite the fact that the original Buddha is the enlightened one and that becoming enlightened is the end of the journey and not just another stage on the reincarnation trail.

Simply, the rationale is that being born a Buddha is the last birth, you have attained enlightenment. Now, the problem here is that Buddhists believe in reincarnation. However, I am accepting enough that I can accept that ultimately those few that do manage to reach enlightenment are rewarded with not having to go back to square one and start all over again.

Other scholars seem quick to point out that just being able to meditate and go without food is hardly proof positive of the boy being the reincarnation of Buddha.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of devotees who remain undeterred and unswayed by the skeptics. These devotees are convinced that Ram is the real deal and line up for hours to receive his blessing, which is a touch of one's head.

8 comments:

Elyani said...

I think meditating without food does not make someone a reincarnation of Buddha. I think David Blaine can do what this young man did too.

schmerly said...

Are these people “touched on the head” or in the head?

Rob Baiton said...

Elyani...

I agree that it doesn't and I also agree that David Blaine could probably do it for a while.

However, my understanding on the reports (I will try and find the original links and post them as a postscript) suggest that this meditation and fasting occurred for months on end.

Still does make him a reincarnation of the Buddha though.

Schmerly...

Now, now. If people want to believe in something, no matter how nonsensical it might be to others, then they should be able to do so.

They are touched on the head as a blessing.

invisible said...

Rob,

Do you believe he is the Buddha reincarnated?
I dont think he has claimed to be a Buddha, but Gautama Buddha has said that there were many Buddhas before him and will be infinitely more in the future.
Whatever the case, there is something sincere about this chap. Even if he may not be the Buddha re-incarnated, he seems pretty enlightened.
Here is the speech he gave in 2007:

"Murder, violence, greed, anger and temptation have made the human world a desperate place. A terrible storm has descended upon the human world, and this is carrying the world towards destruction. There is only one way to save the world and that is through "dharma" (spiritual practice). When one doesn't walk the righteous path of spiritual practice, this desperate world will surely be destroyed. Therefore, follow the path of spirituality and spread this message to your fellows. Never put obstacles, anger and disbelief in the way of my meditation's mission. I am only showing you the way; you must seek it on your own. What I will be, what I will do, the coming days will reveal. Human salvation, the salvation of all living beings, and peace in the world are my goal and my path. "Namo Buddha sangaya, Namo Buddha sangaya, namo sangaya." I am contemplating on the release of this chaotic world from the ocean of emotion, on our detachment from anger and temptation, without straying from the path for even a moment, I am renouncing my own attachment to my life and my home forever, I am working to save all living beings. But in this undisciplined world, my life's practice is reduced to mere entertainment. The practice and devotion of many Buddhas is directed at the world's betterment and happiness. It is essential but very difficult to understand that practice and devotion. But though it is easy to lead this ignorant existence, human beings don't understand that one day we must leave this uncertain world and go with the Lord of Death. Our long attachments with friends and family will dissolve into nothingness. We have to leave behind the wealth and property we have accumulated. What's the use of my happiness, when those who have loved me from the beginning, my mother, father, brothers, relatives are all unhappy. Therefore, to rescue all sentient beings, I have to be Buddha-mind, and emerge from my underground cave to do "vajra" meditation. To do this I have to realize the right path and knowledge, so do not disturb my practice. My practice detaches me from my body, my soul and this existence. In this situation there will be 72 goddess Kalis. Different gods will be present, along with the sounds of thunder and of "tangur", and all the celestial gods and goddesses will be doing "puja" (worship). So until I have sent a message, do not come here, and please explain this to others. Spread spiritual knowledge and spiritual messages throughout the world. Spread the message of world peace to all. Seek a righteous path and wisdom will be yours."

Rob Baiton said...

Invisible...

Still thinking about it! becoming a Buddha is really the final stage in the process to enlightenment. Therefore, it makes sense that there were probably buddhas before Buddha (Siddartha Gautama) and there will be buddhas after him.

This individual seems particularly enlightened and at such a young age which would suggest that he has had a few trips around the reincarnation wheel to perfect this / his enlightenment.

I am all for "seeking a righteous path and wisdom will be yours."

pj said...

The Buddha walks into a pizza hut any says " make me one with everything".

Sorry

Couldn't resist

Rob Baiton said...

PJ...

Don't s'pose you could ;)

It is funny though!

lisamarieelliott said...

It can't really have effect, I believe this way.