May 30, 2013


[ In this sense, Maha Sambodhi Dharma Sangha ( 'The Buddha Boy'- Ed.) is Nepal’s greatest Gift to Humanity in 2500 years. But in direct proportion to his growing global light, dark clouds of opposition rise at home.  Certain influential sectors and local media hoped to suppress if not eradicate his allure.]

By Joan Stanley-Baker PhD*

The Buddha Boy. A Google Image
The Maha Maitreya Puja will be on June 8 -12, 2013  in Chitwan, the site for World Peace Puja is readied for the thousands to come from all over Nepal and the world for the Guru’s personal blessing.  Though many have not yet met him, some have experienced life-transformation at the mere sight of a photograph, or reading a Teaching on

The young Guru, born Ram Bahadur Bonjam from a poor farm family in Nepal’s Bara District, vanished into the jungles at age fifteen. There, as a young monk, he meditated at the base of a giant pipal tree, sheltered by large cavernous roots. For six solid years from 2005 to 2011, atoning for the world’s sins, he meditated for its deliverance from suffering and ignorance. Before his closest friends, and sometimes before the media’s prying eyes he evolved steadily, without taking food or water, from an ordinary human into the Manifest Divinity now increasingly seen as Lord of the Age of Maitreya, succeeding the last teaching Buddha, Shakyamuni.  In this sense, Maha Sambodhi Dharma Sangha is Nepal’s greatest Gift to Humanity in 2500 years. But in direct proportion to his growing global light, dark clouds of opposition rise at home.  Certain influential sectors and local media hoped to suppress if not eradicate his allure.

To many, for a young monk of humble Tamang origins to embody such cosmic potential is unwelcome news.  Moreover, his earliest public utterances already presented upsettingly radical views. All living beings (humans, animals, insects, fish, as well as all plants), are equally deserving of love and respect. He once termed meat-eating  “daemonic behavior” that seemed at first a gross overstatement, until the heart learns to feel from the perspective of a steer, goat, pig, sheep, or from fowl and sea creatures, and all plants.  Such a relatively new and empathetic outlook (or inner resonance) demands yielding one’s egocentricity to experience a unified world.  As it takes some time to attune to the undifferentiated and cosmic love behind this simple utterance, many people still resist, not having yet relaxed the heart enough to resonate on a larger scale in empathy with all creatures.

Starting his solitary meditation with the ordination name Palden Dorje, he received successively, from his divine Guides, different titles reflecting stages in his evolution from monk into Buddha.  From Om Namo Buddha Gyani Guru, to Bodhi Shrawan Dharma Sangha Guru, he received his final title: Maha Sambodhi Dharma Sangha Guru. This in plural form meaning “Great Dharma Congregation of the Fully Enlightened”, a weighty title for a 21-year-old to bear, especially a shy, soft-spoken boy with only a fourth-grade education.  But in fact this title indicates the colossal responsibility now saddled upon him.

His long process through blistering heat and freezing frosts without sustenance included merging with the elements air, fire, water and earth. He meditated underground, in water, and was once engulfed in 15 M high flames that emanated from his chest, consuming his robe and singeing his hair.  A hastily summoned video camera caught the last hour where he danced in the flames standing and sitting stark naked, holding only a ritual bell and vajra.  This clip was made during a week of absence when the BBC Discovery channel’s crew filming the celebrated Boy with Divine Powers had left. Learning of the fire, they returned to interview witnesses, and filmed again, for four consecutive days. The news alerted New Agers that the Guru of gurus had come.  And from the world over, they thronged to Nepal to meditate near the spiritual guide during the last years of his six-year metamorphosis, to be within his spiritual and energetic sphere, and to await his spoken word.

The site of the April 2013 Puja graces former farmlands of a teenage devotee in southern Nepal named Buddha Yonjan, and his father,  Gopal.  As the Guru’s advent had been attended from the start by destructive moves from disgruntled factions, Buddha Yonjan concluded Guru needed a shelter.  During one incident last year, the Yonjan family came forward to donate their hills and farmland, providing Guru with his sole earthly refuge.

Now the land is being prepared for the throngs of devotees to come. A nun bring a hundred odd “butter” lamps from Kathmandu.  Volunteers clear the slopes. A tractor is toing and froing to a plantation bringing in 15- to 20-foot long bamboo. Piles of sturdy flexible tubes lie in the dust waiting to become upright structures. The helpers stay overnight in makeshift huts and erect the large Puja tent with their bare hands. The compound offers the barest of human necessities. Yet a sense of peace and serenity flows through the mixed community like an undercurrent uniting all into one, even though locals don’t speak English and foreigners know little Nepali. Obstacles arise one after the other, only to be resolved with ingenuity and good humor.

From dawn to dusk the foreigners do meditation or healing in small groups, or discuss Guru’s Teachings.  All being Seekers, each one has at one time or other affirmed deep in the heart, without reason but with complete certainty: “This is the one! This is the Guru!”  Those who’ve been seeking for years without finding a personal Guide,  find home at last.  With different backgrounds, they converged here independently, to discover they must become One, to evolve in Maitri loving compassion to spread Guru’s Teachings. When asked during a meeting (21 August, 2010) if the Teachings were Buddhist or Hindu, Guru had replied,

The religion is actually called Bodhi Dharma, but includes all religions. No one is excluded. I’ll be moving forward to include all existing religions of the world.

The special quality about this curious mix of world devotees sets them apart from other more opulent and organized sangha groups...

A Philadelphian comes after years in India under various Gurus and different spiritual practices. Bright blue eyes behind horn-rimmed glasses, lips hidden beneath a long moustache, dark blond hair and long beard matted in dreadlocks, he walks about draped loosely in a dhoti and squats on the ground to eat with his hand. Well versed in practices spiritual, he discusses various  forms spirituality, religious customs and festivals.

 An Australian Reiki master and former accountant shifted his life course to take up healing some years back, and his bright green eyes have not stopped smiling since. He imbibes nature in total bliss, forgetting time. With him, one receives a blast of instantly uplifting Ozzie warmth. Using Reiki he opens chakras for healing and spiritual guidance. His New Zealand friend is not only a clairvoyant medium, but a clairsentient keenly affected by the most delicate vibrations and energetic changes within a huge sphere.  When the two met a year ago, they knew instantly their life was to join forces for healing and energetic tuning, to help friends and strangers attune to the accelerating global shifts.  Each day she shares visions that come through from her Guides. She hasn’t seen Guru, but already his energy sphere is charging her sight and insight with intensity.  This place has a far higher energetic vibration than any she’s ever known, and she says subtle changes are transforming everyone here on deep inner levels.

Among the first devotees who’d helped shape the direction of the international Sangha with their translations and videos is a British-American resident of Japan for the last twenty odd years. She practices aroma therapy and yoga.  Skilled in many languages, she began to study Sanskrit and Nepali to translate Guru’s rare public Teachings.  A Netherlander born and raised in Surinam till her engineer father took a job in Holland, grew up also with bicultural values. While her siblings went into the professions she chose to paint portraits for individuals and art galleries, and became deeply drawn to the young meditating monk in the jungle. With wavy long black hair she looks a female version of the Guru, and her beautiful large black eyes glisten whenever speaking of him. She witnessed the historic speech of May 2011 when the emerging Guru addressed the world announcing his identity, lineage, and mission on earth. Her life has been in the Guru ever since.  A devotee from India has come many times already. His large brown liquid eyes enfold the listener. He speaks of dedicating his life to contemplation, giving up his former worldly careerism. His gentle lilting speech betrays deep experience in electrical and mechanics among other skills.

From Moscow comes S the soft-spoken master of the now indispensible He organizes and runs virtually alone the complex network around the Guru and his Teachings, in no less than 17 languages. This dedicated cyberspace has inspired thousands and engendered the widespread devotion now converging.  Barely twenty-five, with surprising technical expertise, he works with ingenuity creating a shower with bamboo poles and black plastic floored with beautiful mosaic of large roadside pebbles.  His clear light green transparent eyes, pools of purity and love, typify the “Crystal Children” identified by psychologists.

A blond angel from Ukraina carries a small bag and a large lute-like instrument.  Sinking to the ground she tunes the strings. All stop chatting to listen, and suddenly, she breaks into song, a mellifluous Sanskrit hymn flowing through a golden voice that pierces the heart. Everyone is mesmerized. Her large bright green eyes are transparent with wisdom and compassion, her face all innocence.

Foreign devotees here represent 33 nations near and far,  many alternative healers who avoid pharmaceuticals.  There are also so-called New-Age Children referred to as “Crystal Children,” "Indigo Children, etc., beings born in droves over the past few decades to help effect global higher consciousness.  They share several traits:  life’s mission is to give, to share and not to take or harm. Refusing to hurt animals, they are vegetarians.  Not living “ordinary” lives, they often have issues with non-supportive teachers or parents. They carve out new paths for themselves in Reiki, aroma therapy, spiritual guide channeling, minstrel-like music wanderings, herbs or yoga, etc. 

Like a conch-blow to awaken the world, the Puja calls for all religions to join in oneness of loving compassion. For four days the devotees number around 50,000 per day, with 70,000 on the last day. In all 270,000 pilgrims come through the tiny farmstead.  All experience integration and peace here. As one they seem to lift the planet from pollution, greed and cruelty. Earth will be home for Buddhas where all sentient beings including animals, insects and plants are delivered from ignorance and suffering. Such is the Maitreyan Age.

Young Q from France, another school dropout not yet twenty, found his way to the Puja site all alone. Asked why he was here, he replied without hesitation, “I came for Truth. People in my country turn truths info falsehoods, and falsehoods into truths.” In the dark night of our interview he said he “knows” Lord Maitreya, the Buddha of this Age and this Sangha. “No one in my life has ever mentioned or taught me about Maitreya.  But the very first time I heard this name I knew instantly Who He is….  And so I came.”

* The author  is emeritus  professor of  art history specializing in Chinese fine arts at  Tainan National University, Taiwan. She hails from British Columbia, Canada.