A teenager hailed as the reincarnation of the Buddha disappeared on Saturday, leaving behind his clothes in a Nepalese jungle.
Ram Bahadur Banjan was seen heading south before dawn Saturday morning. Banjan’s follower maintain the boy has not eaten or drank water in 10 months of meditation beneath the roots of a peepal tree in an impoverished region south of Kathmandu. Pilgrims and merchants alike flocked to his hermitage and set up a sprawling bazaar around his tree.
Banjan maintained that he was not the reincarnation of the Buddha, but that did not stop him from becoming the calm center of a media firestorm in war-torn Nepal. The BBC speculates that he simply retreated further into the jungle to get away from all the noise and bustle of the bazaar. It must suck having to inhale diesel fumes while trying to achieve enlightenment.