is the book written by Richard Alpert (aka Baba Ram Dass), specifically addressing the relationship between temporal consciousness and spiritual identity.
"Now, though I am a beginner on the path, I have returned to the West for a time to work out karma or unfulfilled commitment. Part of this commitment is to share what I have learned with those of you who are on a similar journey. One can share a message through telling 'our-story' as I have just done, [or through other methods of teaching i.e. Dharma]Each of us finds his unique vehicle for sharing with others his bit of wisdom. For me, this story is but a vehicle for sharing with you the true message... the living faith in what is possible."
The following real-life philosophers wrote/researched temporal conciousness/free will in some way or another: John Locke, Rousseau, & Hume. The following scientistics all researched temporal conciousness/free will in some way or another: Dr. Llinas, Benjamin Libet, & Faraday.
Therefore, since his character's name is based on a buddhist priest, maybe Richard is a spiritual leader? Along with Sawyer, whose character's name is also based on a real-life fellow Buddhist priest - James (Ishmael) Ford...and those characters based on judeo/christian leaders - Christian Shepard (Christ) & Jacob (the father of Israel), are religious leaders.