A former truck driver who now runs a “cult” in California has proclaimed himself “Buddha Maitreya” and announced on radio that he and the Dalai Lama of Tibet are working together.

Ronald Lloyd Spencer, known to his followers as “Buddha Maitreya,” says that he and the Dalai Lama will soon be “sitting on throne seats next to each other.” Spencer runs “therapy and retreat centers” in Mt. Shasta, California and Omaha, Nebraska.

He made these and other bizarre claims on his radio shows, which are broadcast in the Bay area of San Francisco on 1450 KFST FM, KNRY 1240 AM in Santa Cruz and in Omaha on KKAR Talk. His official website the so-called “Tibetan Foundation” contains material about his group and events.

However, it seems that Mr. Spencer is a liar.

A former secretary who served His Holiness the Dalai Lama and is now at Stanford University said the would-be Buddha’s claims are “totally untrue and baseless.” Secretary Tenzin Geyche Tehton added that what Spencer says concerning the Dalai Lama is “totally nonsense” and simply “rubbish.”

But visit the self-proclaimed Buddha’s website you may see him being crowned and read grandiose claims about his abilities and authority.

It seems Mr. Spencer collects donations for “lifesaving assistance,” which may explain how he managed to arrange various photo ops to show supporters and to post at his website.

However, according to those who know “His Holiness Buddha Maitreya” as just Ron, his sordid past includes theft, sexual abuse, fraud and “brainwashing.” One of his victims referred to him as little more than a “con man.”

Spencer may say that donations “help in the restoration of [Tibetan] monasteries,” but you won’t find a detailed and independently audited financial statement on his website, to demonstrate dollar-for-dollar how the money is spent.

One former Spencer confidant observed, “I pity the poor monasteries that cannot possibly have the slightest hint about how he is using them.”

Spencer also sells an array of pricey metaphysical contraptions and amulets, some supposedly designed for “etheric healing.” He claims, “all profit from sales is donated to Tibetan monastery renovations and sponsorship of exiled Tibetans.”

Ron Spencer staffs his “Soul Therapy and Shambhala Retreat Centers,” largely with Americans he calls “monks.” These devotees manufacture the contraptions he hawks, but often receive little more than room and board.

Of course the “monks” do benefit from the spiritual teachings of their “Buddha,” an eclectic mix of “New Age” beliefs that includes everything from the “Archangel Michael” to the “Lost Continent of Atlantis.” Spencer even promotes theories about UFOs.

However, these are certainly not doctrines His Holiness the Dalai Lama would recognize.

Moreover, though Spencer’s monks may be celibate their “Buddha” is not. He has been divorced, remarried and has children. And this “Buddha Maitreya” also has a history of recreational drug use and is a hemp enthusiast.

Well, it’s a free country and as they say, “Whatever floats your boat.” But it seems Spencer’s sailing shouldn’t be subsidized by trading on the respected name of the Dalai Lama of Tibet.


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