Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Payap Reel schedule

At Payap Reel on Wednesday, October 28 at 5 pm

The Film Series Payap Reel is a community project which screens films/documentaries once a month on regional issues, social awareness, and international topics. Viewings are free and open to the public. At Payap University in the Pentecost Bldg, Room 419, from 5 pm until 6:30. For further information, contact Jessica Loh at


At Payap Reel on Wednesday, October 28The Boy With Divine Powers – The Buddha Boy (2007) by the Discovery Channel.

Boy With Divine Power is a documentary about a young boy from Nepal named Ram Bonjon, nicknamed the Buddha Boy. He has gained a large following of believers, who claim that Bonjon is an incarnation of the Buddha, who was born in Nepal more than 2,500 years ago. Bonjon drew thousands of visitors and media attention for spending months in meditation, allegedly without food or water. He began his meditation in 2005 and claims that he will stay in a state of meditation for six years before he speaks. In 2007, he was found meditating inside a bunker like ditch in a remote area of Nepal, having disappeared twice from his previous places of meditation. The film is engaging and thought provoking, raising questions about the relationship between religion and science and the limitations of what each can explain.    


Discussion following the film: "Encountering the living incarnation of the Buddha: A discourse between Science and Religion" led by Dr. Ishwar Harris, Emeritus Professor of Religion at The College of Wooster.


eworldvu: His international legend continues to grow. He has been featured in National Geographic and on the Discovery Channel. He meditates in the solitude of the jungle most of the time, but when he reappears his followers have made some very unique claims.


They say that his body is impervious to snake bites, and that he does not need food and water for long periods of time. Others claim that they have seen his clothes suddenly burst into a blaze of flames.


Still, the story of the teenager Ram Bahadur Bamjan nicknamed the "Buddha Boy" has gained much of its popularity in Nepal because it closely resembles the Buddhist legend about Gautama Buddha's enlightenment.


Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born a prince in Lumbini, a town in Nepal's rice-growing plains about 350 km southwest of Kathmandu more than 2,600 years ago. Buddhists strongly believe in reincarnation, the doctrine that every soul reappears after death in another bodily form.


Still, Buddhist priests have been divided on whether this boy is truly the reincarnation of Siddhartha Gautama, who was born in southwestern Nepal around 500 B.C. and later became revered as the Buddha, which means Enlightened One.


Indeed, there has been considerable controversy in Nepal in calling Ram Bamjan the "reincarnation of Buddha" since according to Buddhist scripture, Gautama Buddha taught that after nirvana there is no more rebirth, therefore it is impossible to be a "reincarnation of Buddha. However, it is still possible to be another Buddha, another one who has attained enlightenment. It is this path that the Buddha Boy of Nepal has said that believes he is on.


After claims that the Buddha Boy was observed meditating under a tree for more than six months without food and water, the Discovery Channel came to Nepal to investigate the claim, two years ago. The Discovery Channel was able to film Ram meditating for 96 straight hours, day and night during which time he did not drink any fluids or eat any food.


That Discovery Channel project would subsequently produce a documentary called the "The Boy With Divine Powers.” According to scientists in the documentary, an average person would be expected to die from kidney failure after four days without drinking any fluids. However, the Buddha Boy showed no signs of physical deterioration caused by dehydration after the 96 hours of filming.


During the last few years, the Buddha Boy of Nepal has experienced an increasingly devoted following but his legend has created many skeptics as well. Once of his skeptics, Sanal Edamaruku, President of the Indian Rationalist Association (IRA) doesn't see much of the Buddha in this boy.


Sanal thinks that, "This is a typical case of fraud. The boy must be simply eating and drinking at night. The claim that he was fasting for six months cannot be taken seriously, unless a fraud-proof blood test confirms that there is no glucose in his blood.”


In fact, other skeptics have also raised questions about the Buddha Boy of Nepal. Rumors exist that the Buddha Boy's parents are in the process of building themselves a mansion. Some insist that the Maoist rebels, in on the hoax, were raking in tens of thousands of dollars in donations from the boys devoted public followers.


So, as the strange tale of the Buddha Boy of Nepal continues to grow, skeptics abound, and as questions are raised, enlightenment is slow.


Torrent: Ram Bahadur Bomjon "Buddha Boy" is a 15-year old Nepalese boy who was hailed by many to be Buddha incarnate - 11 months without any food, without any drop of water - just silently meditating in a tree-hole (like the Gautama Buddha). Mysteriously he vanished one day - as of March 2007 he is known, however, to be safely meditating in a pit in Ratanpuri village.


Discovery Channel last year had a feature on him in their show "The Boy With Divine Powers.” Conclusion? It might not really be such a great hoax as everyone might have thought.



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