The Mystery of the Boy Buddha

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Mired in poverty and beset by civil war, Nepal could use a savior. And thousands of Nepalese thought they had found one in 16-year-old Ram Bahadur Bomjan, whom they believe to be a reincarnation of Buddha, born some 2,500 years ago in Nepal. On May 16, the so-called "boy Buddha" began what his followers claimed was a continuous meditation in his home village of Ratanpur, south of Kathmandu, sitting in a lotus position under a fig tree and refusing all food or water for 10 months. This apparently miraculous spectacle drew hundreds of pilgrims a day, turning Ratanpur into a boomtown...