Maitreya or Lord Maitreya is described in Theosophical literature of the late 19th-century and subsequent periods as an advanced spiritual entity and high-ranking member of a hidden Spiritual Hierarchy, the so-called Masters of the Ancient Wisdom. According to Theosophical doctrine, one of the Hierarchy's functions is to oversee the evolution of humankind; in accord with this function the Maitreya is said to hold the so-called Office of the World Teacher. Theosophical texts posit that the purpose of this Office is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge about the true constitution and workings of Existence to humankind. Humanity is thereby assisted on its presumed cyclical, but ever progressive, evolutionary path. Reputedly, one way the knowledge transfer is accomplished is by Maitreya occasionally manifesting or incarnating in the physical realm; the manifested entity then assumes the role of World Teacher of Humankind.
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) believed the Returned Buddha, the Maitreya, is linked to the Return of Jesus and the other ascendant masters. Blavatsky talked of a so-called Christ Principle, which in her view corresponds to the spiritual essence of every human being.
Benjamin Creme (b. 1922), founder of Share International (doctrines similar to Theosophy) is a promoter of the Maitreya. In 1975 Creme claimed to have started to telepathically channel Maitreya. Maitreya allegedly communicated to him that he had decided to return to Earth earlier than 2025. Creme eventually announced that Maitreya materialized a physical body for himself in early 1977 in the Himalayas and then moved to London. Creme has made a number of extraordinary statements and predictions based on telepathic messages from the Maitreya that have failed to come true.
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