The late L. Ron Hubbard, author of the best-seller Dianetics and founder of the Church of Scientology in the early 1950’s, has influenced millions of people the world over with his philosophy of life. Such notables as a Tom Cruise, Chick Corea, Sonny Bono, and John Travolta have endorsed Hubbard’s teachings.
Dianetics is not only the name of Hubbard’s best-seller, but is a practice as well. Dianetics is the psycho-therapeutic side to Hubbard’s philosophy, claiming to rid people of engrams (mental image pictures stored in the sub-conscious, or “reactive mind”) through Dianetic Auditing. Once a person is freed from these engrams, he is said to have attained the state of “clear.”
Scientology is the religious side of Hubbard’s philosophy, and contains within it Dianetics Auditing. It holds certain doctrines, such as Christ’s crucifixion being “a symbol to man of the triumph of the spirit over death itself” (What is Scientology, xxvii), and “that man is basically good” (The Church of Scientology: The Background and Ceremonies, 30).
Hubbard also admits that various philosophies of the East have influenced him in the forming of his philosophy. For example, he states that “The Veda [holy books of Hinduism]…. A great deal of our material in Scientology is discovered right back there” (The Phoenix Lectures, 12). He cites Buddhism as well: “a Scientologist is a first cousin to the Buddhist” (What is Scientology, 7).
It is with respect to Buddhism that I wish to devote the remainder of this article, and narrow that down further to a specific claim of Hubbard’s within Buddhism. Hubbard claimed to be the fulfillment of Buddhist prophecy concerning the coming of “Maitreya” (or “Metteya”). But first some introductory comments.
In the Book, What is Scientology, we read, “For more than two millennia Man had dreamed of a spiritual state where, free of his own mental aberrations, he would be truly himself. L. Ron Hubbard called this state ‘Clear’…. The dream of Buddha [Siddhartha Gautama, ca. 563 BC], attained by the few, was a reality–Man could be clear” (p. 325). Hubbard once stated, “You will be Buddhas [enlightened ones] All. This I promise you” (Hymn of Asia, no page numbers). This squarely sets the context for Hubbard’s claim to be the coming of Maitreya.
The Hymn of Asia is a poem written by Hubbard for a Buddhist convention in the mid-1950’s. The introduction to the actual poem, written by the editors, concerns itself with a prophecy of the coming Messiah, the Lord Metteya (or Maitreya). We read: “Siddhartha Gautama’s work even set the precedent for an applied religious philosophy which finally re-blossomed in the West some 2,000 years later…. But Siddhartha Gautama did not regard himself as an end point. He looked upon his work as incomplete and prophesized that at a later time a successor would arise to complete his work. The most specific wording of this prediction in Buddhist literature states that 2,500 years after Buddha a red-haired or golden-haired man would arise in the West to complete the Job Buddha began. In Buddhist literature his name is known as Metteya (or Metteyya with two y’s) in Pali, or Maitreya in Sanskrit.” The editors then quote from Buddha himself and from Tibetan Buddhist materials, which repeat many of the above statements.
Then begins Hubbard’s poem to the Buddhist convention. I shall cite excerpts: “Am I Metteya?…. I come to bring you all that Lord Buddha would have you know of life, Earth and Man…. Am I white? Do I have Golden Hair?…. Study the wisdom that I have to say and you will be Bodhi [awakened]…. Am I Metteya?…. Address me and you address Lord Buddha…. I am the beginning. I am the end…. Even your own prophecies centuries Old said I would appear in the Western World. I appeared.”
The Lord Jesus warns, “See to it that know one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will mislead many” (Matt. 24:4-5).
Based on the Works of L. Ron Hubbard.
What is Scientology. Los Angeles, Calif.: Church of Scientology, Publications Organization, 1978.
No Author. The Church of Scientology: The Background and Ceremonies. Los Angeles, Calif.: Publications Organization, 1980.
L. Ron Hubbard. The Phoenix Lectures. Los Angeles, Calif.: Publications Organization, 1969.
Hymn of Asia. Los Angeles, Calif.: Publications Organization, 1974.