Privatizing Enlightenment in the Re-Emergence of Religion
Journal of Dharma, Vol. 34, No. 4, pp. 431-444, 2009
7 Pages Posted: 1 May 2011 Last revised: 20 Sep 2016
Date Written: 2009
Throughout the ages, religious leaders and prophets have sacrificed immensely to deliver sacred messages to those who thirst for enlightenment. Spiritual teachings, guidance from divine sources, have always been valued when recognized. Recently, a trend is emerging in which some individuals in the role of spiritual leader are actually regulating access to their teachings, selling their teachings for profit or only sharing their teachings with certain people. The keys to salvation, reserved for the few? This paper will explore whether we can call these privatized teachings spiritual. To explore this issue, three characteristics of spiritual teachings will be presented, and the implications of privatizing considered with respect to these characteristics. Examples of two modern leaders, Mark Pritchard “Belsebuub” (Searching Within, 2001) and Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth, 2005), who have arguably similar teachings but different approaches to publicizing, will be presented to illustrate the implications of privatizing teachings.
Keywords: Belsebuub, Mark Pritchard, Eckhart Tolle, spirituality, spiritual leadership, spiritual teachings, mysticism
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