Teen ‘Reincarnation of Buddha’ Draws Crowds

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Associated Press

To “Budda” or not to “Budda,” that is the question….flagranny2

3_61_111208_buddha1RATANPUR, Nepal —  The teenage boy revered as a reincarnation of Buddha sat silently in the jungle as he blessed his devotees Wednesday with a light tap on the head, which they consider the touch of the divine.

His face was still, his long hair spilled over his white robe, and he never said a word.

Click here for photos.

The followers of Ram Bahadur Bamjan, 18, believe he has been meditating without food and water since he was first spotted in the jungles of southern Nepal in 2005, when believers say he spent months without moving, sitting with his eyes closed beneath a tree.

Bamjan re-emerged this week to meet his followers, who have come by the thousands to see him in the jungles of Ratanpur, about 100 miles south of Katmandu.

“I got a chance to see God today,” Bishnu Maya Khadka, a housewife, said after receiving Bamjan’s blessing Wednesday. “They say he is Buddha, but for me he is just God.”

Bamjan was expected to address his followers on Nov. 18 and then retreat again into the jungle for meditation, said Kamal Tamang, a Buddhist priest.

Bamjan received the pilgrims from atop a podium covered in yellow cloth and placed before a massive tree. He looked healthy and strong and showed no signs of starvation or dehydration.

Buddhism, which has about 325 million followers, mostly in Asia, teaches that every soul is reincarnated after death in another bodily form.

Some Buddhist priests have been reluctant to accept Bamjan as a true reincarnation of Siddhartha Gautama, who was born in southwestern Nepal roughly 2,500 years ago and became revered as the Buddha, or Enlightened One.

“Meditating without food does not prove that he is the reincarnation of Buddha,” said Min Bahadur Shakya of the Nagarjuna Institute of Exact Methods, a Buddhist research center in Katmandu. “There is much study needed to be done.”

The devotees who have flocked to visit him have fewer doubts. Colorful prayer flags fluttered and incense filled the air Wednesday as the pilgrims silently approached Bamjan, who was surrounded by a line of Buddhist monks.

“I have no doubt in my mind he is a God,” said Meg Bahadur Lama, a local farmer. “He has been meditating without food and water and no human can achieve such a feat. I used to hear about such miracles in the past but now I got to see one.”

Polygamist Sect’s Mothers, Young Children to Be Separated

Saturday, April 19, 2008

This article on foxnews.com was provided by The Associated Press

SAN ANGELO, Texas —  Adult mothers who have been allowed to stay with their young children since theywere taken from a polygamous sect will be separated from them after DNA sampling is completed next week, a child welfare official said Saturday.

State District Judge Barbara Walther late Friday ordered that parents and children of the Yearning For Zion Ranch submit DNA samples to help sort out family relationships that have confounded authorities since 416 children were taken into state custody two weeks ago.

Sampling is to begin Monday and will probably take several days to complete, said Darrell Azar, a spokesman for Child Protective Services. Results could take more than a month.

Once sampling is complete, the agency will begin moving the children from the San Angelo coliseum and fairgrounds to other sites.

Child welfare officials allowed adult mothers with children ages 4 and younger to stay together when the state took custody of the rest of the children from the ranch. Now, only mothers younger than 18 will be allowed to remain with their children once the sampling is complete. The welfare agency will also try to keep siblings together, he said.

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Tammy Faye “Bakker” Messner – 1942-2007

Tammy Faye had given what was to be her final interview Thursday on the Larry King show. She died Friday morning.   

(CNN) — Tammy Faye Messner, the former televangelist and Christian singer who battled drug addiction and later inoperable cancer, died Friday morning, CNN’s Larry King said Saturday night. He said the family had asked him to make the delayed announcement.

“She wanted a party,” King added. “They’re going to schedule a party in two to three weeks in Palm Springs, California. Her friends will be invited. And she wanted it to be a celebration.

 “She died peacefully. Anyone who saw her on our show this week knew that she didn’t have long.”

King asked her Thursday if she were “a little scared.”

She responded, “A little bit,” adding that she mainly worried about her family.

She was 65. Full story

Video Watch Messner on King’s show »       

Ruth Graham, Wife of Evangelist Billy Graham, Dies at 87

Thursday, June 14, 2007

MONTREAT, N.C. —  Ruth Graham, who surrendered dreams of missionary work in Tibet to marry a suitor who became the world’s most renowned evangelist, died Thursday. She was 87.

The wife of Billy Graham died at 5:05 p.m. at her home at Little Piney Cove, surrounded by her husband and all five of their children, said a statement released by family spokesman Larry Ross.

Earlier in the day, Graham huddled by his comatose wife’s bedside with all their children at the couple’s home in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Billy Graham said in a news release Wednesday that his wife, Ruth, who has been bedridden for months with degenerative osteoarthritis of the back and neck, “is close to going home to heaven.”

“Ruth is my soul mate and best friend, and I cannot imagine living a single day without her by my side,” said Graham, who is 88 and ailing himself with fluid on the brain, prostate cancer, Parkinson’s disease and age-related macular degeneration. “I am more in love with her today than when we first met over 65 years ago as students at Wheaton College.”

Ruth Graham rallied briefly after she underwent treatment for pneumonia two weeks ago, but her health worsened because of her weakened condition. She celebrated her birthday Sunday and was alert, but slipped into the coma Wednesday morning. Her condition did not change overnight, said Graham’s spokesman Larry Ross.

News that Ruth Graham had fallen into a coma came as Billy Graham announced that he and his wife would be buried in Charlotte, at the new Billy Graham Library, instead of at The Cove, a Bible training center near the Grahams’ home outside of Asheville.

The Washington Post reported last year the couple’s youngest son Ned, citing the wishes of his mother, opposed burying his parents at the library. Ruth Graham wanted to be buried at The Cove, he said.

In his Wednesday statement, Billy Graham said he and Ruth decided earlier — “after much prayer and discussion” — they would be laid to rest at the library in Charlotte, but kept that decision private until it became clear that Ruth was close to death.

Born in Charlotte, Graham traveled the world for decades building a revival-based ministry that reached millions. He later returned to the Charlotte area, which became the home of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Three former presidents — Clinton, Carter, and George H.W. Bush — helped Graham open the $27 million library and museum last month. Graham needed the help of son Franklin, who has taken over the leadership of the association, to reach his seat, and later quipped that the emotional ceremony had such an air of finality that, “I feel like I’ve been attending my own funeral.”

When Graham and his wife die, Ross said, they will be buried at the foot of a cross-shaped walkway in the library’s prayer garden — a symbolic decision to demonstrate both their reverence to God and their “ongoing witness of their faith in Christ.