Introduction: "A man is as well off as his goals and dreams are intact. If a man can dream, if a man can have goals, he can be happy and he can be alive. If he has no goals he doesn't even have a future. 30 March 1954" – L. Ron Hubbard, 30 March 1954
Read Max Hauri's introduction letter to this article below
The startling conclusion to the Advance! series on Buddhism
With Advance! Issues 23 and 24 you have been following a series of articles which trace the development of Buddhism.
In Issue 23 you learned how one man, Siddhartha Gautama, sought to rise above his own destiny and realize the true spiritual nature of man. He became the Buddha, one who is awakened or enlightened. He developed a philosophy which said that life is basically suffering but that there is a way to escape the endless wheel of death and rebirth by becoming a Buddha oneself. Although Buddha failed because he lacked the means to fully achieve his aims, his work was so pervasive and so impressive that it became the dominant civilizing influence for the subsequent 2,500 years of Man's history.
In Issue 24 we saw how Buddha himself eventually went to Tibet (in a later lifetime) to begin Lamaism (Tibetan Buddhism) in an attempt to develop exteriorization techniques and further extend his studies of the mind. His name in that 8th century life was Padma Sambhava. The most important works attributed to Padma Sambhava were the great book of "Self Liberation" and the "Tibetan Book of the Dead", a technical manual designed to free an individual from the wheel of rebirth.
With this current issue we have now arrived at the climax of Advance!'s series on Buddhism.
You see, 2,500 years ago a stunning prophecy was made which throws a fascinating new light on Man's spiritual track.
A 2,500 YEAR OLD PROPHECY
Can an ancient promise made 2,500 years ago which predicts that a great spiritual leader will come to bring total freedom to man, come true?
Man has usually looked to his past for his golden ages. He has primarily, therefore, dwelled in nostalgia rather than hope. The future all too patently [obviously] has represented merely a rolling forward of today's unsolved problems which promised to get worse before they got better.
The most hopeful points in man's history have accompanied upsurges or revivals in religious philosophy; such milestones as Zoroastrianism, [See Advance! 20. Zoroastrianism founded by Zoroaster (Greek form of the old Persian name Zarathustra) was the most important religion of ancient Persia.] Christianity and Buddhism, and others.
Most of these movements predicted the end of the history of mundane existence and the commencement of heavenly existence – which then didn't occur! In Christianity, for example, the date for the second coming of Christ at the end of the world has been frequently moved forward. The early Christians expected it in their lifetimes. Recently the Jehovah's Witnesses regularly gathered to await the end of the world. So predominant has the idea of waiting been in Christian history that Franz Kafka, the German writer, once cynically wrote that Christ would arrive not on the Day of Judgement, or the next day but the day afterwards!
This eschatological [Having to do with end things, such as death, resurrection, judgement, immortality.] view of history has had bizarre twists, such as in Hegel's work, the "great" German philosopher (1770-1830), who felt that his own work was the final chapter in the book of truth and marked the end of history. Marx in turn conceived that history would end with a final decisive battle between "workers" and capitalists, after which would follow a timeless workers' paradise – thus perverting the Christian idea of Armageddon [The place where the last, decisive battle between the forces of good and evil will be fought before the Day of Judgement and subsequent everlasting heaven.] which itself comes from the earlier Zoroastrian concept of judgement and the end of the world.
Thus, Man has been so often disappointed and betrayed with promised saviors and paradises that he is a bit like a wounded water buffalo that tries to gore anyone who reaches to help it.
Out of the whole panorama of such predictions and prophecies only one did not rely on supernatural agencies or foresee the divine end of the world. This is the legend of a successor originated by none other than Gautama Buddha.
Buddha did not consider that his own work was complete. He realized that he lacked adequate technology to achieve the full goals of spiritual freedom. He predicted that such a technology of the mind and spirit would be developed in the West by a successor some 2,500 years later.
As the Buddha stated to Ananda (Buddha's principal aide) who asked him, "Who shall teach us when thou art gone?"
"And the Blessed One replied "I am not the first Buddha who came upon earth, nor shall I be the last I came to teach you the truth, and I have founded on earth the kingdom of truth. Gautama Siddhartha will die, but Buddha will live, for Buddha is the truth, and the truth can not die. He who believes in the truth and lives it, is my disciple, and I shall teach him. The truth will be propagated and the kingdom of truth will increase for about five hundred years. Then for a while the clouds of error will darken the light, and in due time another Buddha will arise, and he will reveal to you the self-same eternal truth which I have taught you."
Ananda said "How shall we know him?"
The Blessed One said 'The Buddha that will come after me will be known as Metteyya, which means 'he whose name is kindness. [From 'The Book of the Great Decease' in the Pali Canons, the earliest Buddhist scriptures Pali is the language Gautama Buddha spoke.]
Metteyya comes from the Pali word metta meaning love. Correctly translated into spoken English Metteyya means 'he whose name is kindness' or 'friend'. Thus 'the one who is to come' shall be recognisable, according to Buddha, as a great friend of Mankind. He will be Metteyya (friend). In another statement Buddha predicts that Metteyya will be "accompanied by a congregation of some thousands of brethren, even as I am now accompanied by a congregation of some hundreds of brethren."
This Buddhist idea of a second Buddha filtered westward into the Middle East where, according to one authority, it was expressed in the later Christian idea of the second coming of Christ. In Buddhist lands Metteyya became a great favorite. Various cults devoted to him arose. In art and sculpture he was often depicted as a standing figure in contrast to Buddha who was usually shown as sitting. He became a frequent theme in Buddhist literature. For example, the "Anagata Vamsa", an 8 th century Indian poem on Metteyya puts into Gautama Buddha's mouth such lines as
"I am now the perfect Buddha;
"And there will be Metteyya too
"Before this same auspicious aeon
"Runs to the end of its years."
A predominant part of the legend is that Metteyya will appear when the world is imperilled, religion has dangerously declined and a new dark age is threatening to cloud the planet.
Ancient Tibetan scriptures confirm that this new spiritual leader shall appear in the West and that he will have red or golden hair:
"When he shall be seen in the West, seated in the Western fashion, his hair like flames about his noble head, discoursing, then shall the inhabitants of the Three Worlds [Three worlds of Tibetan scriptures. Body: the physical world pertaining to the body and its operation and life. Speech: the 'world' of communication between entities and things. Mind: One's own world, the world of one's own creation.] rejoice, knowing that the emancipation of all sentient beings is imminent. Then it shall be called the age of the blessed because it will become commonplace to achieve Emancipation in one life-time."
Gandhi, a Hindu, was perhaps invoking Metteyya when he wrote the following:
"Asia has a message for the whole world, if it will only live up to it. There is the imprint of Buddhistic influence on the whole of Asia, which includes India, China, Japan, Burma Ceylon and the Malay States. For Asia to be not for Asia but the whole world, it has to re-learn the message of the Buddha and deliver it to the whole world."
Paul Goddard, a noted western interpreter of Buddhism also recognized that traditional Buddhism was not adequate for the modern world He puts the dire need for a better technology in his own terms:
"American and European Buddhists, before they can commonly attain Enlightenment and Buddhahood, will need their own method for practicing the Eighth Stage of the Noble Path, [The final step on the 8-part procedure Gautama Buddha developed for reaching Buddhahood.] but such a Right Method can not be formulated until the Buddha that is taking form within our own minds, comes 'When He comes, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.' 'Even so come, Lord Maitreya!'" [Maitreya is the Sanskrit form of the Pali word Metteyya, sometimes spelled Metteya]
In 1955 Buddhists worldwide celebrated the 2,500 year anniversary of the Buddhist era. These celebrations coincided with the earliest date predicted for the arrival of Metteyya which works out, more or less, to 1950.
The cover of this issue [not available] of Advance! vividly expresses this prediction. It shows Metteyya standing at the end of a 2,500 year Bridge. Buddha can be seen at the other end. Metteyya's right hand is upraised in the Abhayamudra gesture. Mudra means 'gesture' Abhaya means 'free from fear or danger, fearless.' As a gesture it conveys the granting of protection and blessing. It therefore represents a postulate for a safe space in which beings can attain total spiritual freedom.
For two and a half millennia the East lovingly kept alive the hope of Metteyya – thus helping to create a future in which he could arrive and be accepted.
Another year has come to an end and now we have all the opportunities to hope and dream of a better sky without too many dark clouds!
We create the future, we are the cause and we can be much more cause than we ever thought. Our potential is far from being exhausted.
Here is the actual New Year writing: A 2,500 YEAR OLD PROPHECY, taken from the magazine Advance! 27, 1974. I do not have to add much to it, it speaks for itself and everyone can make his own thoughts about it.
As written above, whatever happens, we can and should always be optimistic. We can now better see what is going on. There is more and more truth popping up, and it is good even if it is uncomfortable. Let's create and live our goals and dreams. This is a good postulate for next year!
"A man is as well off as his goals and dreams are intact. If a man can dream, if a man can have goals, he can be happy and he can be alive. If he has no goals he doesn't even have a future. 30 March 1954" – L. Ron Hubbard, 30 March 1954
Happy New Year!
Max Hauri and the Ron's Org Grenchen: Erica, Melinda, Verena, Dirk, Jean and all who help us to put the Ron's Org there, every day.