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List of Buddha claimants

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List of Buddha claimants

The people described below have claimed to have attained enlightenment and become buddhas, claimed to be manifestations of bodhisattvas, identified themselves as Gautama Buddha or been honored as buddhas or bodhisattvas.


  • Claimants 1
  • See also 2
  • Bibliography 3
  • References 4


  • Guan Yu - a general serving under the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms period in ancient China. Guan was deified as early as the Sui Dynasty and is still worshipped by many Chinese people today, especially in southern China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and among many overseas Chinese communities. He is a figure in Chinese folk religion, popular Confucianism, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism, and small shrines to Guan are almost ubiquitous in traditional Chinese shops and restaurants. Many Buddhists accept him as a bodhisattva that guards the Buddhist faith and temples.
  • Wu Zetian - the only ruling female emperor in the history of China, and founder of her own dynasty, the Second Zhou dynasty. Ruled under the name Emperor Shengshen. Gained popular support by advocating Buddhism but ruthlessly persecuted her opponents within the royal family (by cutting off their arms and legs and inserting them in jars) and the nobility. She proclaimed herself an incarnation of Maitreya and made Luoyang the "holy capital".
  • Gung Ye - Korean warlord and king of the short-lived state of Taebong during the 10th century. Claimed to be the living incarnation of Maitreya and ordered his subjects to worship him. His claim was rejected by most Buddhist monks and later he was dethroned and killed by his own servants.
  • Nurhaci (Emperor Tai Zu) - founder and leader of the Qing Dynasty. Believed he was a manifestation of Manjushri Bodhisattva.
  • Lu Zhongyi - the 17th patriarch of the I-Kuan Tao. I-Kuan Tao followers believe that he is the first leader of the "White Sun" Era, the era of the apocalypse, thus he is the incarnation of Maitreya.
  • Baha'u'llah - prophet of Persian origin, founder of the Baha'i Faith stated publicly in 1863 AD that is promised and the divine emissary Allah for this New Age predicted in all prophetic religions of the past. Shoghi Effendi, eldest grandson and authorized interpreter of the sacred writings of Bahá'u'lláh and guardian of Baha'i Faith from 1921 to 1957, identifies Bahá'u'lláh as "the fifth buddha" and "a Buddha named Maitreye, the Buddha of universal fellowship".
  • Mirza Ghulam Ahmad - Ghulam Ahmad has claimed many titles he says were given to him by God including being a universal prophet for all religions (including Buddhism). In 1889 he found the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, preaching Islam as a universal faith which came to support the true teachings of all other religions lost over the centuries.
  • Peter Deunov (Master Beinsa Douno) - spiritual teacher, founder of a teaching and school of Esoteric Christianity. Some students of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, have identified Master Beinsa Douno as a manifestation of Maitreya in the late 20th century.
  • Ruth Norman (Uriel) - founder of the Unarius Academy of Science. Claims to have had fifty-five past lives, some included were reincarnations of the Buddha, Socrates, King Arthur, Confucius and a king of Atlantis.
  • Samael Aun Weor - stated in The Aquarian Message that "the Maitreya Buddha Samael is the Kalki Avatar of the New Age." The Kalkian Avatar and Maitreya Buddha, he claimed, are the same "White Rider" of the book of Revelation.
  • Jim Jones - leader of the Peoples Temple cult. Jones claimed to be a living incarnation of the Buddha as well as Jesus Christ, Pharaoh Akhenaten, Father Divine and Vladimir Lenin.
  • Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh - also known as Acharya Rajneesh from the 1960s onwards, as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (during the 1970s and 1980s and as Osho from 1989) was an Indian mystic, guru, and spiritual teacher who garnered an international following. Osho later said he became spiritually enlightened on 21 March 1953, when he was 21 years old, in a mystical experience while sitting under a tree in the Bhanvartal Garden in Jabalpur.[1][2]
  • Ariffin Mohammed - founder of the Sky Kingdom. His movement had a commune based in Besut, Terengganu, that was demolished by the Malaysian government in 2005. He also claimed to be an incarnation of the Mahdi, Muhammad, Jesus and Shiva.
  • Claude Vorilhon (Raël) - Vorilhon claims to be Maitreya.
  • Lu Sheng-yen - founder and spiritual teacher of the newly created Buddhist lineage called the True Buddha School. Lu claims that in the late 1980s, he had reached enlightenment while training under a formless teacher and that he is an incarnation of Padmakumara, a deity in the Western Pure Land kingdom. He has since then called himself "Living Buddha Lian Sheng".
  • Ram Bahadur Bomjon - a 26 year old Nepalese ascetic whom many have hailed as a new Buddha. According to his brother Gangajit, a "very clear and white" light "different from sunlight" emanated from his head. On November 8, 2005 Dorje arose and said to the public, "Tell the people not to call me a Buddha. I don't have the Buddha's energy. I am at the level of rinpoche." Despite his protestations of not having attained enlightenment, many continue to insist he is a buddha.

See also


  • Hogue, John Messiahs: The Visions and Prophecies for the Second Coming (1999) Elements Books ISBN 1-86204-549-6


  1. ^ McCormack, W. (2010). The Rajneesh Chronicles: The True Story of the Cult that Unleashed the First Act of Bioterrorism on U.S. Soil . Tin House Books. ISBN 098256919X. p. 34.
  2. ^ York, M. (2009). The A to Z of New Age Movements. 33. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810863324. pp. 139-140.
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