Cultures & Traditions

Maitreya

Maitreya (“the friendly one”) is the Buddha of the Future, who is thought to reveal the completion of the Buddha’s teaching 5,000 years after Siddhartha Gautama. He will be reborn from the Tushita heaven, in which he currently dwells, to usher in an age of peace and prosperity.

Maitreya highlights the cyclical world view held by Buddhists. A buddha, such as Shakyamuni, comes into the world to dispel the darkness of ignorance and bestow the blessings of enlightenment. His teachings remain effective for thousands of years, but eventually masters become less enlightened and disciples become more prone to error. When things can deteriorate no further, the next Buddha comes into the world. Buddhist sutras say that Maitreya will be large in stature, towering over humankind, and will inspire them with his grace, beauty, and powers of loving-kindness and wisdom. Until Maitreya appears as a buddha, he visits this world as a bodhisattva and works for the welfare of human beings in that form.

Adapted from

A. Lesovsky, DMA unpublished material, 2013.