A young man believed by followers to be a reincarnation of Buddha has returned to Nepal's jungles to meditate alone, police said on Saturday, as scholars cast doubt on his supporters' claims.
Known as the "Buddha Boy," Ram Bahadur Bomjam, 18, became famous in 2005 after supporters said he could meditate motionless for months without water, food or sleep.
"Bomjam went back into the jungle late Friday and all the devotees have left," police officer Gobinda Kushwaha told AFP from Neejgad, a town in Bara District, 60 km south of Kathmandu.
The "Buddha Boy" reappeared earlier this month after supporters said in March 2007 that he was going to meditate for three years in an underground bunker, although he was spotted on two occasions.
For the last 10 days, he has been blessing thousands of devotees who came daily to the site in dense jungle close to Neejgad.
The president of the Nepal Buddhist Council said claims by his supporters that he was a reincarnation of Siddartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, were not credible.
"We do not believe he is Buddha. He does not have Buddha's qualities," said Mahiswor Raj Bajracharya, president of the Nepal Buddhist Council, a centre for Buddhist study and research in Kathmandu.
"He may have achieved great heights in meditation, but that alone does not make him a Buddha. A Buddha needs life experience, a young man who has not seen the world at all cannot be a Buddha," said Bajracharya.