Maitreya

future Buddha in Buddhist eschatology
For for the Theosophical concept, see Maitreya (Theosophy).

Maitreya (Sanskrit), Metteyya (Pali), also known in some Buddhist literature as Ajita, is regarded as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology.

He will teach the Dhamma, lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle, lovely in its ending. ~ Gautama Buddha
Many await My Coming with reverence and also with some fear. This is inevitable. My Coming will mean the end of the old order of things. All that is useless, no longer serving the purposes of man, can now be discarded. (Maitreya's Message No. 4)

Quotes aboutEdit

  • For eight thousand years he will live the household life in four palaces Sirivaddha, Vaddhamāna, Siddhattha and Candaka - his chief wife being Candamukhī and his son Brahmavaddhana. Having seen the four signs while on his way to the park, he will be dissatisfied with household life and will spend one week in practicing austerities. Then he will leave home, travelling in his palace and accompanied by a fourfold army, at the head of which will be eighty-four thousand brahmins and eighty four thousand Khattiya maidens. Among his followers will be Isidatta and Pūrana, two brothers, Jātimitta, Vijaya, Suddhika and Suddhanā, Sangha and Sanghā, Saddhara, Sudatta, Yasavatī and Visākhā, each with eighty four thousand companions. Together they will leave the household and arrive on the same day at the Bodhi tree.
  • Now in those days, brethren, there shall arise in the world an Exalted One by name Maitreya (the Kindly One) an Arhat, a Fully Enlightened One, endowed with wisdom and righteousness, a Happy One, a World-knower, the Peerless Charioteer of men to be tamed, a teacher of the devas (angels) and mankind, an Exalted One, a Buddha like myself. He of His own abnormal powers shall realize and make known the world, and the worlds of the devas, with their Maras, their Brahmas, the host of recluses and brahmins, of devas and mankind alike, even as I do now. He shall proclaim the norm, lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle, and lovely in the end thereof. He shall make known the wholly perfect life of righteousness in all its purity, both in the spirit and in the letter of it, even as I do now. He shall lead an Order of Brethren numbering many thousands, even as I do now lead an order of Brethren numbering many hundreds.
  • And in that time of the people with an eighty thousand-year life-span, there will arise in the world a Blessed Lord, an Arahant fully-enlightened Buddha named Metteyya, (Maitreya) endowed with wisdom and conduct, a Well-Farer, Knower of the worlds, incomparable Trainer of men to be tamed. Teacher of gods and humans, enlightened and blessed, just as I am now. He will thoroughly know by his own super-knowledge, and proclaim, this universe with its devas and maras and Brahmas, its ascetics and Brahmins, and this generation with its princes and people, just as I do now. He will teach the Dhamma, lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle, lovely in its ending, in the spirit and in the letter, and proclaim, just as I do now, the holy life in its fullness and purity. He will be attended by a company of thousands of monks, just as I am attended by a company of hundreds. (25)
  • The Buddha of the present time is the Lord Gautama, who took his last birth in India about two thousand five hundred years ago...Seven Buddhas appear in succession during a world-period, one for each race, and each in turn takes charge of the special work of the Second Ray for the whole world, devoting himself to that part of it which lies in the higher worlds, while he entrusts to his assistant and representative, the Bodhisattva (Maitreya), the office of World-Teacher for the lower planes. For One who attains this position Oriental writers think no praise too high, no devotion too deep, and just as we regard those Masters to whom we look up as all but divine in goodness and wisdom, so to an even greater degree do they regard the Buddha.
  • Now at this time in the remote past to which we have referred, humanity should have begun to provide its own Teachers; but we are told that no one had quite reached the level required for the incurring of so tremendous a responsibility. The first-fruits of Humanity at this period were two Brothers who stood equal in occult development; one being he whom we now call the Lord Gautama Buddha, and the other our present World-Teacher, the Lord Maitreya. In what way they fell short of the required qualifications we do not know; but, out of his great love for humanity the Lord Gautama instantly offered to make himself ready to undertake whatever additional effort might be necessary to attain the required development. We learn from tradition that life after life he practised special virtues, each life showing out some great quality achieved.
  • The Lord Maitreya, whose name means kindliness or compassion, took up the office of Bodhisattva when the Lord Gautama laid it down, and since then He has made many efforts for the promotion of Religion. One of His first steps on assuming office was to take advantage of the tremendous magnetism generated in the world by the presence of the Buddha, to arrange that great Teachers should simultaneously appear in many different parts of the earth; so that within a comparatively short space of time we find not only the Buddha Himself, Shri Shankaracharya and Mahavira in India, but also Mithra in Persia, Laotse and Confucius in China, and Pythagoras in ancient Greece.
  • What is now called Christianity was undoubtedly a magnificent conception as He originally taught it, sadly as it has fallen away from that high level in the hands of ignorant exponents since. It must not be assumed, of course, that the teaching of brotherly and neighbourly love was new in the world. As St. Augustine said in His book De Civitate Dei,
    The identical thing that we now call the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and has not been lacking from the beginnings of the human race until the coming of Christ in the flesh, from which moment on the true religion, which already existed, began to be called Christian...
  • Readers of the Bhagavad Gita will also remember the teaching of love and devotion with which it is filled. The Bodhisattva also occupied occasionally the body of Tsong-ka-pa, the great Tibetan religious reformer, and throughout the centuries he has sent forth a stream of His pupils, including Nagarjuna, Aryasanga, Ramanujacharya, Madhavacharya, and many others, who founded new sects or threw new light upon the mysteries of religion, and among these was one of His pupils who was sent to found the Muhammadan faith.
    The sending out of the teachers I have mentioned above is only part of His work, which is not confined to humanity, but includes the education of all creatures on earth, and among them the Deva evolution. He is thus the Head of all the faiths at present existing, and of many others which have died out in the course of time, though He is of course responsible for them only in their original form, and not for the corruption which man has naturally and inevitably introduced into all of them as the ages have rolled by. He varies the type of religion to suit the period of the world’s history at which it is put forth, and the people to whom it is given; but though the form may vary as evolution proceeds, the ethics are ever the same.
  • The Bodhisattva also occupied occasionally the body of Tsong-ka-pa, the great Tibetan religious reformer, and throughout the centuries He has sent forth a stream of His pupils, including Nagarjuna, Aryasanga, Ramanujacharya, Madhavacharya, and many others, who founded new sects or threw new light upon the mysteries of religion, and among these was one of His pupils who was sent to found the Muhammadan faith.... He is thus the Head of all the faiths at present existing, and of many others which have died out in the course of time, though He is of course responsible for them only in their original form, and not for the corruption which man has naturally and inevitably introduced into all of them as the ages have rolled by...
  • Maitreya will be 88 cubits (132 feet/ 40 meters) tall and will live for 88,000 years. Like Maṅgala Buddha, his rays will make people hard to distinguish between day and night.
    • Myanmar Encyclopedia, Volume 9
  • The scriptures say that Maitreya will attain bodhi in seven days (which is the minimum period), by virtue of his many lives of preparation for buddhahood similar to those reported in the Jataka tales.
  • At this time a notable teaching he will start giving is that of the ten non-virtuous deeds (killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, divisive speech, abusive speech, idle speech, covetousness, harmful intent and wrong views) and the ten virtuous deeds (the abandonment of: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, divisive speech, abusive speech, idle speech, covetousness, harmful intent and wrong views).
 
Throughout the entire Buddhist world the rocks on the roadsides, with the images of Maitreya, point out the approaching future. From the most ancient times until now this Image has been erected by Buddhists who know the approach of the New Era . In our day, venerable lamas, accompanied by disciples, painters, and sculptors, travel through the Buddhist countries, erecting new images of the symbol of aspirations toward the radiant future. ~ Helena Roerich

Foundations of Buddhism, by Helena Roerich (1930)Edit

(full text online )

  • According to tradition, the Blessed One preordained the Bodhisattva Maitreya as his successor. “And the Blessed One said to Ananda, ‘I am not the first Buddha who has come upon Earth, nor shall I be the last. In due time another Buddha will arise in the world, a Holy One, a supremely enlightened One, endowed with wisdom in conduct, embracing the Universe, an incomparable leader of men, a ruler of devas and mortals. He will reveal to you the same eternal truths, that I have taught you. He will establish his Law, glorious in its origin, glorious at the climax, and glorious at the goal, in the spirit and in the letter. He will proclaim a righteous life, wholly perfect and pure, such as I now proclaim. His disciples will number many thousands while mine number many hundreds.’ “Ananda said, ‘How shall we know him?’ “The Blessed One said, ‘He will be known as Maitreya!’ ”  (Paul Carus, The Gospel of Buddha) The future Buddha, Maitreya, as his name indicates, is the Buddha of compassion and love. This Bodhisattva, according to the power of his qualities, is often called Ajita—the Invincible.
  • It is interesting to note that reverence of many Bodhisattvas was accepted and developed only in the Mahayana school. Nevertheless, the reverence of one Bodhisattva, Maitreya, as a successor chosen by Buddha himself, is accepted also in the Hinayana. Thus, one Bodhisattva, Maitreya, embraces the complete scope, being the personification of all aspirations of Buddhism.
  • What qualities must a Bodhisattva possess? In the Teaching of Gotama Buddha and in the Teaching of Bodhisattva Maitreya, given by him to Asanga according to tradition in the fourth century (Mahayana-Sutralankara), the maximum development of energy, courage, patience, constancy of striving, and fearlessness was underlined first of all. Energy is the basis of everything, for it alone contains all possibilities.
  • Throughout the entire Buddhist world the rocks on the roadsides, with the images of Maitreya, point out the approaching future. From the most ancient times until now this Image has been erected by Buddhists who know the approach of the New Era. In our day, venerable lamas, accompanied by disciples, painters, and sculptors, travel through the Buddhist countries, erecting new images of the symbol of aspirations toward the radiant future.
  • Buddha, as the source, and Maitreya, as a universal hope, will unite the austere followers of the Teaching of the South with the multiformity of the North. That which is most essential for the immediate future will definitely manifest itself. Instead of swelling the Teaching with commentaries, it will again be restored to the beauty of the value of concise conviction. The new time of the Era of Maitreya is in need of conviction.
  • Life in its entirety must be purified by the flame of achievement. The great Buddha, who preordained Maitreya, prescribed the path for the whole of existence. For those wise and clear covenants, the manifestation of the new evolution is calling. The demand for the purification of the Teaching is not accidental. The dates are approaching. The Image of Maitreya is ready to rise. All the Buddhas of the past have combined their wisdom of experience and have handed it on to the Blessed Coming One.

See AlsoEdit

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