New Religion Could End All Human Suffering
(excerpted from Sun, 4/5/2010)
HENRY Steel Olcott was a Civil War colonel who played a key role in the investigation into the brutal assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
One of America's greatest visionaries, he was also the first person of European descent to officially convert to Buddhism and the founder of the Theosophical Society, which was at the forefront of the Spiritualist movement in the U.S.
He traveled to India and Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, to study his newfound religion from original sources and founded several Buddhist schools.
While living at one of his schools, Ananda College, Olcott began the daily practice of deep meditation.
His trances lasted for up to six hours and it was during one of these marathon sessions that he discovered he had the gift of prophecy. The Buddha appeared to him and declared that a brutal storm was due to arrive in one week, and if he didn't undertake emergency construction work, Ananda College would be swept away in a mudslide.
Olcott made the necessary repairs and the school was saved.
Other prophecies enabled him to seek medical treatment for followers who had undisclosed illnesses. Without the foreknowledge imparted by the Buddha, they would all most likely have died.
During a trance, the Buddha told Olcott that it didn't matter what religion one followed, as long as one made the alleviation of human suffering one's top priority.
In describing this experience to a group of followers. Olcott revealed that a new religion would take root in America in the first or second decade of the 21st century.
"It will arise in a very dark hour for "our nation," he said. "At first, it will be greeted with hostility, but its followers will demonstrate courage and will work quietly to keep the new faith alive. Eventually, it will emerge from the shadows and even the most resistant opponents will have to take it seriously.”
The primary sacrament of the new religion will not be a ritual carried out inside a church. Instead, it will consist of acts of mercy toward fellow human beings, especially those who are ill or burdened with poverty.
"It will be a universal duty to help these unfortunates, and doing so will be the path to spiritual peace for adherents of the new religion," Olcott said.
No one will have to abandon his religion to become a member of the new religion, but rather will continue to believe in Christ or Yahweh or Allah.
The only thing they will have to do is help the needy whenever they become aware of suffering around them.
"They will go forth helping others,” Olcott said. “Their good deeds will transform the world."
Olcott prophesied that, imbued with the spirit of the new religion, Americans would banish greed and pettiness from their hearts and become the leaders; of a worldwide movement that would bring an end to hunger, sickness and war.
"Americans will fulfill their God-given destiny by building a paradise on Earth," he said. "That is the real meaning of the American Dream."
* * *