Shoko Asahara, the forty-year-old guru of Aum Supreme Truth, a Buddhist sect, offers his followers spiritual enlightenment through mystical practices, painful religious rituals, and purchasing "sacred goods". You may recall the Japanese religious group who gassed the Tokyo subway system. This act of terrorism is yet to be understood by officials.
Asahara, as a guru or teacher, is believed to be able to take the initiate from spiritual darkness to spiritual enlightenment. Asahara teaches the oneness of all things and that salvation only comes through achieving his brand of enlightenment.
Asahara has taken the name Maitreya as his own in an attempt to establish himself as the World Teacher. The Buddhists desire the arrival of another Buddha - Maitreya Buddha, to lead them to personal enlightenment. Maitreya is not only believed to be the World Teacher but also the head of the Spiritual Hierarchy, a group of "enlightened masters" who rule the world.
The World Teacher, whose personal name is Maitreya, will return at the beginning of the age of Aquarius, as the teacher and guide for those of every religion and those of no religion. Asahara seems to have usurped this title for his own ends. Apparently he believes it will give him credibility in the minds of his followers. Ironically, the World Teacher espouses a philosophy of peace and sharing whereas Asahara, according to Japanese officials, is a terrorist.
According to the enlightened, Maitreya has been expected for hundreds of years by all the major religions. Christians know Him as The Christ; the Jews await Him as the Messiah; the Hindus look for the coming of Krishna; Buddhists expect Him as Maitreya Buddha; and the Muslims anticipate the Iman Mahdi.
According to Benjamin Creme, a Scottish esotericist and spokesman for the ascended Master, Maitreya has already returned. He is believed to be the most highly evolved being (physically or spiritually) and is the head of what is believed to be the Hierarchy or the Masters of Wisdom. The Masters, too, are highly evolved beings who no longer need to incarnate on this planet, but because of their desire to aid humanity in its spiritual evolution they remain as guides to inspire man toward his final state.
Periodically throughout history, civilization reaches a great divide; one era is ending but the shape of the next is not yet known. It is believed by the esotericists that during these times of transition and upheaval great crises threaten humanity's very existence. These crises manifest themselves both socially and spiritually.
It is precisely at these times, according to their followers, that the world's great spiritual teachers have appeared to point the way forward and to guide humanity into the next stage of development.
Maitreya the Christ
The enlightened say the world is in the midst of such a transition today, and again a great Teacher, the Lord Maitreya, has appeared, just when we most need Him. According to Creme, Maitreya worked last in Palestine, overshadowing His disciple Jesus, who became the Christ from the time of His Baptism to the Crucifixion. This time Maitreya comes Himself, to complete the mission He began some 2,000 years ago.
It is important to note that in esoteric tradition, the word "Christ" is not the name of an individual, but of an office or function within the Spiritual Hierarchy of Masters. The present holder of that office is Maitreya, who is the Master of all Masters. He has been the Christ for the past 2,600 years and He will continue to hold that position for the entire Age of Aquarius (The New Age) - approximately 2,000 more years.
Creme goes on to say that Maitreya, The Christ, is the eldest brother in the human family, who has perfected and fully manifested within Himself the divinity which is latent in each of us.
The Master Within
According to the Tara Center, Creme's organization, Matreya is here to provide us with the inspiration and guidance to build a new world. He is also here to help lead us to a new level of Self-realization. He says, "I have not come to found a new religion. Each of you should continue to develop within your own religious tradition."
Maitreya says not to seek Him in the Master Jesus or in others, but instead, from within: "The Master is within you. If you follow the disciplines of life the Teacher teaches you, the Master reveals Himself within you." He goes on to say, "If you practice honesty of mind, sincerity of spirit and detachment, you will know your Self, you will know Me, you will know the Lord."
To aid in Self-realization, Maitreya has given humanity a new affirmation which leads people to experience the Self within. This affirmation, or prayer, is known as:
A Prayer for the New Age
I am the creator of the universe.
I am the Father and Mother of the universe.
Everything came from me.
Everything shall return to me.
Mind, Spirit and body are my temples for
the Self to realize in them
My Supreme Being and Becoming.
This prayer for the New Age is a personal adaptation of "The Great Invocation" given by Maitreya in 1945. The Invocation is a non-denominational prayer, used by The Christ and released to humanity to enable man to invoke the energies which would change our world and make possible the return of The Christ and the Hierarchy.
Those who have been discipled in esoteric philosophy believe that the Christian church has greatly distorted the nature of Christ. The possibility of guilt resulting from sin, which is to be eventually judged by a just God, is abhorrent to those in such circles.
They teach that the Christ has been presented in such a mystical fashion by the church that many fear His judgment and omnipotent power; they await Him as God comes to punish the wicked and reward the faithful. Benjamin Creme declares, "No such being exists. In order to understand the true nature of the Christ it is necessary to see Him as one among equal Sons of God, each endowed with full divine potential, differing only in the degree of manifestation of that divinity."
Maitreya's mission then is to help humanity realize that He has come to aid and inspire man, in his evolution toward divinity, and not as a judge to condemn man.
His primary task is to establish the fact that God has come in the flesh to make Himself known to all humanity. He has also come to recreate the Divine Mysteries: To teach man how to love. To establish man's brotherhood. To keep faith with the Father and with man. To usher in the New Age. To consolidate the treasure of the past, to inspire the marvels of the future, to glorify God and man.
Benjamin Creme reports that Maitreya's priorities are to: establish peace; inaugurate a system of sharing; remove guilt and fear - cleanse the hearts and minds of man; educate mankind in the laws of life and love; an introduction to the Mysteries; and create a pool of knowledge for all mankind.
Creme concludes that, "Maitreya has come to do battle with ignorance and fear, division and want. His weapons are spiritual understanding, knowledge and love; His shining armor is Truth Itself."
Teachings of the Christ
There is a time of profound change coming upon us in this New Age. Creme relates that these changes will take place as humanity grasps its essential Oneness, and adopts the measures necessary to implement that Oneness.
Among the first priorities relating to human need is saving the millions now starving to death in the Third World. To implement justice and sharing as the only way to true peace and harmony, competition and greed must be stopped. Separativeness and exclusiveness must be done away with. Maitreya is to bring an end to bitterness and distrust among the nations that has brought us to the edge of self-destruction.
The Christ calls for the acceptance of the principle of sharing through the redistribution of the world's resources - food, raw materials, energy and technological expertise which is believed to be wasted on and by the developed countries. According to Creme, a sophisticated form of barter will replace the present economic systems in the New Age.
It is interesting to note that at the very time the communist structures of the world are crumbling that any idea of socialism might succeed. According to Creme the democratic system will still hold and will be seen to be right and effective when it is, for the first time, directed truly to the common good. He continues by saying, "the participation of all sections of society in the construction of the new social order will ensure the speedy adoption of the measures necessary for its implementation." The people will decide. However, they will be under a spiritual delusion and unable to discern the truth. The United Nations will play a key role in bringing about this new world order.
Self Awareness and Salvation
Experience has become the ultimate guru for many in this generation. Maitreya says that he has not come to found a new religion, but that he has come to teach the "art of Self-realization."
Benjamin Creme says that "the true quality of the Teacher will be seen in the teaching - which is that the Master is within you." In Maitreya's words, "I seek to express that which I am through you; for this I come." The followers of Maitreya believe that if you follow the disciplines of life the Teacher teaches you, the Master will reveal Himself within you.
The disciple is told not to attempt to understand the teachings objectively, but to rely upon their subjective experience. Maitreya says, "I do not want you to believe in Me. First experience Me within you. When you experience Me then you become aware of My presence within you; it is not a matter of belief first. I do not want you to accept or reject me - it is your inner experience which counts." The disciple is taught that to be honest, sincere and detached is to experience oneness with God.
According to Creme, "detachment is the process whereby man ceases to identify with the material aspect (the body), with the thought aspect (the mind) and with the energy or power aspect (the spirit), and thus comes to know and be his real Self."
The esotericist says that if an individual becomes too attached to body, mind or spirit there will be no end to material desires and sensual gratifications. Therefore, one must denounce the flesh, which is a biblical precept. However, a problem arises for the Christian when Creme goes on to say that "for without detachment there is no salvation." Creme also stated at an appearance in Dallas, that we save ourselves by responding to Maitreya's teachings.
For the Christian, salvation is realized by acceptance, not detachment. Detachment in the sense used by the esotericist is nothing less than a gospel of works. Jesus taught that if we simply confess with our lips and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, then we will be saved (Romans 10:9).
The Day of Declaration
Benjamin Creme, as Maitreya's representative, says that at the earliest possible moment Maitreya will demonstrate His true identity. He says that on that day the international radio and television networks will be linked together and Maitreya will be invited to speak to the world. You may recall that in April of 1982 the Dallas Morning News along with other major newspapers around the world contained a full page advertisement regarding the coming of The World Teacher - Maitreya Buddha. Obviously, he is still waiting for a sacred moment.
According to Creme, "we will see His face on television but each of us will hear His words telepathically in our own language as Maitreya simultaneously overshadows all of humanity." He also tells us that even those not watching television of listening to the radio will have this experience. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of spontaneous healings will take place throughout the world. These events are to be the compelling evidence that "The Christ" is now known to all men.
The New American, in its April 3, 1995 issue, carried an article entitled One World Worship. The article related that the December 1994 issue of Share International reported that "Maitreya and his associates are rapidly constructing `the One Church and the New World Religion [which] will gradually emerge as a mutual tie to unite men with closer bonds.'"
The article continues with a quote from Creme declaring that "very soon now, a most unusual event will allow the world to know that the Masters do, indeed exist . . . When men see Maitreya, they will know that the time has come to choose; to go forward with Him into a future dazzling in its promise - or to cease to be."
Shoko Asahara has brought to light once again the name of Maitreya. I hope that in the end, we will not wish that Asahara was truly who he claimed to be. Because the one who Creme believes to be Maitreya Buddha will certainly be more than a religious terrorist seeking notoriety.