|The Future Buddha Maitreya towering in Ladakh (Sahil Vohra/flickr.com)|
|Maitreya Buddha, Thikse Gompa, Ladakh|
In the past, unskillful behavior was unknown among humans on this Earth. As a result, we lived for an immensely long time -- 80,000 years -- endowed with great beauty, wealth, pleasure, and strength.
It was the golden age portion of the aeon-cycle or kalpa. Over time, some began misbehaving. This caused the human lifespan to shorten, which very gradually trends down but is punctuated by highs and lows, until it now stands at 100 years, with a proportionate decrease in human beauty, wealth, pleasure, and strength.
In the future, as our virtue (sila) degenerates further, our lifespan will continue to shorten until it is 10 years, with people reaching sexual maturity at 5.
|Indo-Greco Afghan Maitreya Buddha (Boonlieng/flickr)|
With the recovery of virtue, average human lifespan will gradually increase again until it reaches 80,000 years, with people attaining sexual maturity at 500.
..."Meditators, live with yourself as your island, yourself as your guide, with nothing else as your guide. Live with the Dharma [teachings, truth] as your island, the Dharma as your guide, with nothing else as your guide.
|Gandhara-style Maitreya, SFO Museum (Boonlieng)|
"There is a case where a meditator remains focused on the body in and of itself -- resolute, alert, and mindful -- putting aside greed and grief with regard to the world. One remains focused on sensations in and of themselves... mind [processes] in and of themselves... mental phenomena in and of themselves -- resolute, alert, and mindful -- putting aside greed and grief with regard to the world.
"This is how a meditator lives with oneself as island, oneself as guide, with nothing else as guide, with the Dharma as island, the Dharma as guide, with nothing else as guide.
"Wander, meditators, in your proper range, your ancestral territory. When you wander in your proper range, in your ancestral territory, you will grow in long life, beauty, pleasure, wealth, and strength." More
G.P. Malasekera, Metteyya (Buddhavamsa XXVII.21); Dhr. Seven (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly
|Buddha Maitreya in the Buddhist Indian Himalayan state of Ladakh, India/flickr.com)|
|Sri Lanka's national nāga tree|
He will be born in the city of Ketumatī (present-day Benares, Varanasi, India), whose ruler will be the World Ruler Sankha. Sankha will live in the deva palace where King Mahāpanadā once dwelled. But later he will renounce and give the palace away to become a follower of Maitreya Buddha (D.iii.75ff). [The name derives from the Pali word metta, maitrī (मैत्री) in Sanskrit, which means loving-friendliness, amity, loving-kindness. "Noble friendship" (kalyana mittata) is a high Buddhist ideal because it is only by this noble friendship that one can find and observe the path to enlightenment. Our best friend, therefore, is a buddha.
The Anāgatavamsa (Journal of the Pali Text Society, 1886, pp. 42-46 ff., 52; DhSA [Atthasālinī].415 gives the names of his parents) gives further particulars. He will be reborn in a very eminent Brahmin family, and his personal name will be Ajita. Maitreya is evidently the name of his familial clan or tribe (gotta).
He will then leave home, traveling in his palace [platform, vimana?] and accompanied by a fourfold army, at the head of which will be 84, Brahmins [scholar priests] and 84,000 noble (khattiya, warrior caste) maidens.
|A large naga tree in bloom (BDN)|
Maitreya's father will be the Brahmin Subrahmā, chaplain (court priest/minister) to King Sankha, and his mother will be Brahmavatī. His four chief disciples will be Asoka and Brahmadeva, among the male disciples, and Padumā and Sumanā among the female disciples.
|Cobra's saffron, Indian rose chestnut|
According to the Mahāvamsa (Mhv.xxxii.81f.; see Mil.159), Kākavannatissa and Vihāramahādevī, the father and mother of Dutthagāmani, will be Maitreya's parents. Dutthagāmani himself will be his chief disciple and Saddhātissa his second disciple, while Prince Sāli will be his son.
At the present time the Future-Buddha is living in the Tusita deva-world (Mhv.xxxii.73). There is a tradition that Nātha is the name of the future Buddha in the deva world.
|Tibetan Buddhists are so eager to invite the next buddha to Earth from Tushita that they are erecting the largest Buddha statue in the world in the ancient village the historical Buddha chose for his final nirvana, Kusinara, India. To do so, the Relic Tour is traveling.|
|Maitreya at Thiksey, Ladakh (IP)|
Dappula I made a statue in honor of the Future Buddha 15 cubits high (Cv.xlv.62). It is believed that Maitreya currently spends his time in the deva-world, preaching the Dharma to the assembled (spirits, light beings, fairies, gods, godlings). And in emulation of his example, King Kassapa V used to recite the Higher Teachings (Abhidharma) in the monastic assemblies (Cv.lii.47).
Parakkamabāhu I had three statues built in honor of Maitreya (Cv.lxxix.75), while Kittisirirājasīha erected one in the Rajata Temple Complex (vihāra) and another in the meditation cave above it (Cv.c.248,259).
It is the wish of most Buddhists that they be fortunate enough to meet Maitreya Buddha and hear directly from him the Dharma that leads to their sudden awakening to attain final liberation from all suffering (nirvana, nibbāna) under him. See, for example, Jat.vi.594; MT. 687; DhSA.430.
|See upcoming tour dates in the USA and worldwide (MaitreyaRelicTour.com)|