Share International

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Share International Foundation is a sect founded by Benjamin Creme with its main offices in London, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Los Angeles.[1][2][3] The organization has also been referred to as Tara Center, which was a name used for the Los Angeles office for work carried out in the USA.[4]

The organisation believes that a spiritually advanced being named Maitreya, the World Teacher, has returned to the everyday world and has been living among the Asian community in London since 19 July 1977. They assert that when Maitreya first arrived in London he lived in the Brick Lane area for several years[5][6] before moving to another unspecified location in the city.

Beliefs, practices, and background[edit]

Share International's publications claim that the coming of Maitreya (meaning "friendly" in Sanskrit) fulfills not only Buddhist prophecies about the appearance of a future great teacher named Maitreya, but also the prophecies of a number of other world religions - including Christianity (the second coming of Christ), Hinduism (the Kalki avatar of Vishnu), Islam (the Imam Mahdi) and Judaism (the Jewish Messiah). Creme claims that Maitreya manifested himself through (or overshadowed) Jesus 2,000 years ago,[6] that Maitreya resided in the Himalayas, and that in 1977 he descended from his ancient retreat in the Himalayas and took an aeroplane to London. His belief is that Maitreya took up residence in the Indian-Pakistani community of London in the Brick Lane area and has been living and working there, seemingly as an ordinary man, his true status known to relatively few. Furthermore, that Maitreya has been emerging gradually into full public view so as not to infringe humanity's free will.[5][6][7][8][9] Journalists had been invited to find Maitreya in the Brick Lane area but were unable to do so.[10] According to Creme, Maitreya influenced the ending of the cold war, the German reunification, and the ending of apartheid in South Africa .[11]

In 1974, Benjamin Creme introduced a meditation called Transmission Meditation which he says is a way of transmitting spiritual energies through the meditators to create a pool of positive, spiritual energy for the benefit of humanity. Share International says there are 600 Transmission Meditation groups all over the world. The groups sit silently while spiritual energy is transmitted or 'stepped-down' by the Masters of Wisdom (also called by some groups Ascended Masters). This group meditation is a form of service, rather than the traditional personal meditation, which can be continued as well as this service activity.[12][13][14] Transmission Meditation is a non-denominational meditation and people from all faiths (or none) take part in this form of service.[15]

Benjamin Creme is a student of the teachings of Alice Bailey, Helena Blavatsky and Helena Roerich.[16]

Share International says that Maitreya appeared before a Christian gathering of 6,000 people on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya on 11 June 1988. This happening was widely published, among others by CNN,[citation needed] and photographs of the Jesus-like apparition were distributed worldwide.[16][17][18][19] Since then, it is claimed that he has made many more appearances. From 1991 to 2002, they say Maitreya appeared before gatherings of orthodox religious groups worldwide. He addressed them briefly in their own language and was recognized by the majority of people in attendance as their awaited Teacher. Maitreya also apparently created healing springs of water in the areas near these appearances. These healing waters in Mexico, Germany, and India have drawn millions of visitors.[20] The organisation has published a list of Maitreya's alleged appearances.[21]

1982 onwards[edit]

In the spring of 1982 Creme placed advertisements in newspapers around the world saying, "The Christ is now here". According to Creme the "Christ", whom he also called "Maitreya", would announce his existence on world wide television broadcasts. Creme stated in these newspaper advertisements that the Second Coming of Christ would occur on Monday, 21 June 1982 (the summer solstice in the Northern hemisphere).[citation needed] When this did not occur, Creme continued to assert that Maitreya would emerge when the world was ready for him. Creme, who continues to claim that time is now very near for Maitreya's emergence, does not receive any money for this work or royalties from his 14 books, and has for over 30 years given lectures around the world by invitation only. A worldwide network of volunteers work with Benjamin Creme to inform the public of this information.[22][23]

In 1997 Creme made similar announcements that there would be imminent global TV broadcasts from Christ/Maitreya, though with far less media interest.[24]

Main priorities of Maitreya and the idea of sharing[edit]

Share International does not claim Maitreya as a religious leader, or that he is to found a new religion, but that he is a teacher and guide for people of every religion and those of no religion. They believe this to be a time of great political, economic and social crisis, that Maitreya will inspire humanity to see itself as one family, and create a civilization based on sharing, economic and social justice, and global cooperation.

They highlight the main goals that Maitreya will immediately recommend dealing with after the 'Day of Declaration.' They say that he will call to action the people of the world to save the 862 million who are starving and hungry in a world of plenty. Among Maitreya's recommendations will be a shift in social priorities so that adequate food, housing, clothing, education, and medical care become universal human rights.[25]

Believers claim that through the years, Maitreya has given 140 messages.[26] Share International quotes him as saying, "See your brother as yourself".[27] They say that Maitreya says only through sharing can the world be renewed, and that only sharing will bring justice and peace, and that his can only be achieved by the perception of brotherhood.

Share International magazine and organization[edit]

Share International Cover, featuring one of Benjamin Creme's artwork

Share International has offices in Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and several other countries.[3][28] It publishes a monthly magazine, also called Share International.[29] In it, Creme has published a number of articles that he claims were dictated to him telepathically by a Master of Wisdom (Ascended Master), an enlightened being who apparently has already passed through evolution on this planet and has an expanded consciousness and therefore does not have to reside in a fixed human body (the same is true for Maitreya who is claimed to have made appearances in many different bodies.) The magazine documents many miracles sent in by people experiencing them, that they assert appear all over the world.[30]

Raj Patel's identification as Maitreya[edit]

Creme has been reported to have made several pronouncements since 1982[23][31] identifying the coming "Messiah/Maitreya (or future Buddha)" as having been born in 1972, traveled to London from India in 1977, been dark-skinned, and having a stutter. Shortly after the economist Raj Patel appeared on the TV show The Colbert Report, to promote his recent book, The Value of Nothing, Creme stated the Messiah had appeared on a popular television program in the United States.[32] Raj Patel was identified as this messiah by Creme's followers as he fulfilled Creme's previous predictions. During the March 15, 2010 show, Colbert claimed this was product of a Colbert Bump, mocked people who were worshiping Patel, and called him personally on the telephone to humorously confirm his status as the deity, which Patel denied. Benjamin Creme had also predicted that the Messiah would deny his status, reinforcing his followers' belief in Patel's divine status.[neutrality is disputed] Patel's family reportedly jokingly brought him clothes from London bearing the slogan from Monty Python's Life of Brian: "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!"[33][34][35][36][37]

Creme protested to the New York Times journalist Scott James over what Creme stated were inaccuracies in James's article about Patel (James was first to write about the subject). Creme said to James that the article did not present a full account of Creme's activities while traveling around the world last 35 years and later through the internet. James replied that he only wrote about people who already declared Patel as Maitreya. Creme responded that Maitreya created his own body in 1977, so Patel being born in 1972 could not be the same person. He said that he had never stated in his lectures that Maitreya had been born in 1972, was dark-skinned, or had a stutter.[38][39]

In an article for the Guardian, Patel wrote that, even when Benjamin Creme, while interviewed by the journalist Mick Brown, suggested that he was not the messiah, this "has not stopped the internet from churning out its particular brand of speculation, and for the media to amplify the frenzy."[40] In response to Patel's article, Benjamin Creme wrote, that "he and those involved with him in Share International has nothing to do with this mistaken identity, which was the result of coincidences and circumstances beyond the control [of] any of them and that they regret the incovenience caused."[41] Creme said, in his magazine Share International, that he never pointed to a person and called him Maitreya. As he already told journalist Scott James he never heard of Raj Patel, never met him and know only what others are saying about him. And as he said to Mr. James, it is not his work to say that anyone is or is not Maitreya, nor will he do so until Maitreya acknowledges His true identity on the Day of Declaration.[42]

Reception and criticisms[edit]

According to the American religious scholar J. Gordon Melton, Creme's statement served as a catalyst for assessment of the New Age movement by Evangelical Christians.[43] A week after the advertisements in 1982, other advertisements appeared in the Los Angeles Times denouncing Creme as an instrument of the Antichrist. Constance Cumbey (an Evangelical Christian and a Detroit area attorney and author) holds that "Maitreya" is a pseudonym for the Antichrist and regards Share International as an openly Luciferian movement.[44][45] Other Christian Evangelicals distanced themselves from Cumbey's conspiracy theory.[43]

The beliefs and claims of Creme have been described as fantastic and outlandish by the British journalist Mick Brown.[46]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Brown, Mick (1998). The Spiritual Tourist: A Personal Odyssey Through the Outer Reaches of Belief. Bloomsbury. ISBN 1-58234-034-X. . page 13
  2. ^ Limpt, Cokky van 23 December 1997 'Rouw om Diana teken van Zijn komst'/'Mourning about Diana sign of His advent' in Dutch newspaper Trouw English translation: ""Share International knows how the world teacher looks in his present outfit. For years publications of the movement have been showing one picture in which a being called Maitreya would be visible i.e. a dark colored man with a black beard, a moustache, dressed in white and with a white tulban-like hat [...]"
    Dutch original:"Share International weet ook al hoe de Wereldleraar er in zijn huidige gedaante uitziet. In de publicaties van de beweging circuleert namelijk al jaren één foto waarop Maitreya te zien zou zijn: een donkere man met een zwarte baard en snor, gehuld in een wit gewaad en met een wit, tulband-achtig hoofddeksel; [..]"
  3. ^ a b Melton J. Gordon, Gale Research Inc, Jerome Clark, Aidan A. Kelly Original from the University of Michigan, New Age Encyclopedia, 1990, ISBN 0-8103-7159-6, entry nr. 96, page 135
  4. ^ Groothuis, Douglas R. (1986). Unmasking the New Age. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-87784-568-9. , page 120
  5. ^ a b Barrett David V. The New Believers 2001 ISBN 0-304-35592-5, page 347
  6. ^ a b c Brown, Mick. The Spiritual Tourist. Bloomsbury publishing, 1998. page 8
  7. ^ Share International website: http://shareintl.org/introduction/introduction3.htm
  8. ^ Mick Brown. The Spiritual Tourist. Bloomsbury publishing, 1998. page 8
  9. ^ Nagel, Alexandra De Sai Paradox: Tegenstrijdigheden van en rondom Sathya Sai Baba/The Sai paradox: contradictions of and surrounding Sathya Sai Baba in the series Religieuze Bewegingen in Nederland/Religious movements in the Netherlands, 'Sekten/Cults, 1994, nr. 29. published by Free university of Amsterdam press. "Vroon schreef verder over Maitreya, waar Benjamin Creme al jarenlang de verkondiger van is. Creme beweert dat in 1977 de nieuwe wereldleraar, Maitreya genaamd, in Londen is gearriveerd. Deze zou ook een avatar zijn, degene die de aarde zal helpen de geestelijke revolutie welke naar zijn zeggen gaande is, te begeleiden. Het is een revolutie die liefde als middel en als doel heeft. Maitreya belichaamt in dit gebeuren het planetaire liefdesaspect, Sai Baba het kosmische. Volgens Creme staat Sai Baba hoger in de 'hiërarchie der meesters' dan Maitreya en is hij op aarde gekomen om Maitreya te helpen bij zijn werk.13 De relatie tussen Sai Baba en Maitreya werd door Vroon niet vermeld, maar deze informatie verscheen prompt via een ingezonden brief in de krant." Partial English translation "Vroon wrote further about Maitreya whose apostle is Benjamin Creme. Creme claims that in 1977 the new world teacher, called Maitreya has arrived in London. He would not only be an Avatar, the one who will help earth in it spiritual revolution that according to Creme is taking place. The revolution has love as its aim and method. [....] "
  10. ^ Barrett, David V. The New Believers 2001 ISBN 0-304-35592-5, page 347-349
  11. ^ unknown author (2006-11-25). "Messias in aantocht" (in Dutch). Het Parool. Retrieved 2008-05-17. "In spite of this, Maitreya remained busy, according to Creme. He was claimed to have been responsible for the end of the cold war, the unification of Germany, and the ending of apartheid in South Africa"
    Dutch original: "Toch heeft Maitreya volgens Creme allerminst stilgezeten. Zo was hij verantwoordelijk voor het einde van de Koude Oorlog, de eenwording van Duitsland en de beeindiging van de Apartheid in Zuid-Afrika."
     
  12. ^ "Transmission Meditation". Share International official website. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 
  13. ^ Brown, Mick. The Spiritual Tourist. Bloomsbury publishing, 1998. page 250
  14. ^ Melton J. Gordon, Gale Research Inc, Jerome Clark, Aidan A. Kelly Original from the University of Michigan, New Age Encyclopedia, 1990, ISBN 0-8103-7159-6, entry nr. 96, page 136
  15. ^ http://www.share-international.org/background/xmission/tm_main.htm
  16. ^ a b Barrett, David V. The New Believers 2001 ISBN 0-304-35592-5, page 348
  17. ^ Brown, Mick. The Spiritual Tourist, Bloomsbury publishing, 1998. page 349
  18. ^ unknown author (2006-11-25). "Messias in aantocht" (in Dutch). Het Parool. Retrieved 2008-05-17. "English translation: Pictures of the Jesus-like image were distributed worldwide"
    Dutch original: "Foto's van de Jezusachtige verschijning werden wereldwijd gepubliceerd."
     
  19. ^ Limpt, Cokky van 23 December 1997 'Rouw om Diana teken van Zijn komst'/'Mourning about Diana sign of His advent' in Dutch newspaper Trouw English translation: ""Share International knows how the world teacher looks in his present outfit. For years publications of the movement have been showing one picture in which Maitreya would be visible i.e. a dark colored man with a black beard, a moustach, dressed in white and with a white tulban-like hat [...]"
    Dutch original:"Share International weet ook al hoe de Wereldleraar er in zijn huidige gedaante uitziet. In de publicaties van de beweging circuleert namelijk al jaren één foto waarop Maitreya te zien zou zijn: een donkere man met een zwarte baard en snor, gehuld in een wit gewaad en met een wit, tulband-achtig hoofddeksel; [..]"
  20. ^ http://shareintl.org/introduction/introduction7.htm
  21. ^ "Maitreya's worldwide appearances". Share International. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  22. ^ THE NEW AGE CONSPIRACY
  23. ^ a b The Tara Press (June 3, 1982). "Advertisement". The Times. p. 6. 
  24. ^ "British Futurist Says 'World Teacher' Will Be Seen On TV Within Four Weeks". Canada NewsWire. December 2, 1997. "British futurist Benjamin Creme states that Maitreya -- 'World Teacher' for the coming age -- will be interviewed on a major American network before the end of the year. This will be followed by appearances on other networks around the world and, within months, will lead to a global satellite hook-up where Maitreya can speak to all people simultaneously -- in their own language." 
  25. ^ http://shareintl.org/maitreya/Ma_main.htm
  26. ^ http://shareintl.org/maitreya/messages/Ma_mess.htm
  27. ^ http://shareintl.org/magazine/SI_current.htm
  28. ^ Brown, Mick. The Spiritual Tourist, Bloomsbury publishing, 1998. page 13
  29. ^ Limpt, Cokky van 23 December 1997 'Rouw om Diana teken van Zijn komst'/'Mourning about Diana sign of His advent' in Dutch newspaper Trouw English translation:"Their club magazine Share international [..]" Dutch original "Hun verenigingsblad Share International [..]"
  30. ^ Brown, Mick. The Spiritual Tourist, Bloomsbury publishing, 1998. page 257
  31. ^ Share-International (Retrieved on March 31, 2010.)
  32. ^ Maitreya, the World Teacher, steps forward Benjamin Creme's announcement (Retrieved on April 30, 2010.)
  33. ^ James, Scott (February 4, 2010). "In Internet Era, an Unwilling Lord for New Age Followers". New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  34. ^ Johnson, Bobbie (19 March 2010). "I'm not the messiah, says food activist – but his many worshippers do not believe him". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  35. ^ Kunhardt, Jessie (16 March 2010). "Raj Patel Is The Messiah, Says Religious Group After Author Appears On 'The Colbert Report' (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. 
  36. ^ http://www.colbertnation.com/full-episodes/mon-march-15-2010-robert-baer
  37. ^ Hutchison, Jono (2010-03-21). "Spiritual group adopts ordinary man as Messiah". 3 News (New Zealand). Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  38. ^ Benjamin Creme reacts to Scott James about a column Mr. James wrote for The New York Times about a modern day messiah movement. (Retrieved on April 30, 2010.)
  39. ^ Scott, James (2010-02-04). "In Internet Era, an Unwilling Lord for New Age Followers". 3 News (New York). Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  40. ^ Patel, Raj (2010-04-11). "We don't need a messiah (and anyway, it isn't me)". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  41. ^ Creme, Benjamin (2010-04-20). "Raj Patel is not Maitreya, but the World Teacher is here – and needed". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  42. ^ On the question: what are you going to do to stop the silliness on the Stephen Colbert show in the US?... (Retrieved on May 11, 2010.)
  43. ^ a b Newport, John P. The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview: Conflict and Dialogue, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0-8028-4430-8, pages 180-181
  44. ^ She bases this on Creme's open professions of loyalty to Lucifer on various talk radio shows - some of which she has personally participated in. She also bases this on Creme's recitation of his belief in the contents of the Alice Bailey books - books which are published by Lucis Press - an organization that originally published under "Lucifer Publishing Company". Brown, Mick. The Spiritual Tourist. Bloomsbury publishing, 1998. page 23 "Creme was agent for the AntiChrist. I had come across a pamphlet published by an organisation called the Christian Research Institute declaring its belief that Mr. Creme was indeed 'deriving his inspiration from a spiritual realm, albeit a malevolent one'."
  45. ^ Barrett, David V. The New Believers 2001 ISBN 0-304-35592-5, page 349 Quote "Sensing a good offbeat story, a number of journalists search the Brick Lane area, but no one could point them at the returned Christ. Creme lost credibility and supporters, and gained some serious enemies among Evangelical Christians. An Evangelical book, The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow (1983) attacked all New Age and esoteric movements - especially Creme and the Maitreya [sic] - as a satanic conspiracy [..]"
  46. ^ Brown, Mick. The Spiritual Tourist, Bloomsbury publishing, 1998. page 10

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Cumbey, Constance Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow: The New Age Movement and Our Coming Age of Barbarism, Huntington House Publishers 1985, ISBN 0-910311-03-X
  • Brown, Mick. "Messiah is alive and well and in London." The Sunday Times, 23 October 1988, p. A15.
  • Peterson, Wayne S. Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Beings: Experiences of an American Diplomat with Maitreya and the Masters of Wisdom, Hampton Roads Publishing Company, 2003, ISBN 1-57174-376-6
  • See books by Benjamin Creme

External links[edit]