A Nepalese teenager hailed as a reincarnation of the Buddha has vanished for a second time in southern Nepal, a member of his support committee said Saturday.
Ram Bahadur Bomjam, 17, who shot to fame in 2005 when his supporters said he had begun a meditation session that would go on uninterrupted for years, went missing on Thursday night (March 8), the committee member said.
"He suddenly disappeared from his meditating site in the jungle of Bara," said Raju Shah, a member of the committee set up after the boy became a local media sensation.
"He told his priest Indra Lama that he would meditate somewhere in other undisclosed locations."
Local media dubbed Bomjan "Buddha Boy" after supporters said he had been meditating for months without food, water or sleep, and tens of thousands of people flocked to see him.
He first disappeared in March 2006, telling his supporters the site had become too crowded.
Nine months later he reappeared and was set up at a new site by the committee, but this time visitors have been sparse.
Scepticism about the teenager's claims increased after his reappearance late last year, and local authorities froze bank accounts containing money collected from visitors.
Gautama Siddhartha, who later became known as Buddha or the Enlightened One, is believed to have been born in southern Nepal in around 500 BC.
Buddhists believe Siddhartha achieved enlightenment after meditating under a pipal tree.
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Kathmandu, Nepal (AHN) - Locals in the district said he left his meditating place Thursday midnight. Bomjan, who claimed to have been meditating without food and water since mid May 2005, is a resident of Ratanpuri-9, Bara. He had gone missing in February 2006 and was again spotted in December.
Officials of Namo Buddha Service Committee searched for him throughout the day on Friday. Inspector Rameshwor Yadav of the Area Police Office in Nijgadh said the police have not been able to reach the spot though they were reported about his missing.
"He quietly left the site around midnight on Thursday. Earlier that night he had told his attendants that he would move to a new location for meditation," policeman Rameshwar Yadav said on Sunday.
"We are searching for the boy in the forests but have found no trace of him so far."