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Zorba the Buddha"Sex, Spirituality, and Capitalism in the Global Osho Movement"$
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Hugh B. Urban

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520286665

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520286665.001.0001

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“The Messiah America Has Been Waiting For”

“The Messiah America Has Been Waiting For”

Rajneeshpuram in 1980s America

(p.101) Chapter 4 “The Messiah America Has Been Waiting For”
Zorba the Buddha

Hugh B. Urban

University of California Press

This chapter focuses on the Rajneesh community's transplantation to the United States in the 1980s and the foundation of the utopian city of Rajneeshpuram in Oregon. While relatively short-lived, Rajneeshpuram was surely one of the most remarkable religious experiments in American history, growing in just a few years into perhaps the largest, most progressive, most lucrative, but also controversial utopian community of the twentieth century. However, Rajneeshpuram was no less remarkable for its spectacular collapse, largely under the leadership of Rajneesh's secretary, Ma Anand Sheela (aka Sheela Silverman), who engaged in an array of criminal acts during an escalating war with the local community of Antelope, Oregon. Ironically, even as Rajneesh railed against President Reagan, his Oregon experiment was in many ways a weird spiritual mirror of Reagan's America and of capitalism itself during the 1980s, reflecting many of the same neoliberal ideals of deregulation and free markets, along with periodic hostile takeovers and financial scandals.

Keywords:   Rajneeshpuram, religious experiment, Ma Anand Sheela, Sheela Silverman, Ronald Reagan, capitalism

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