Symbolic Meaning of Maitreya Buddha
Maitreya Buddha is regarded as a future Buddha of this world who is yet to descend from the heavens. Maitreya is derived from “Maitri” which means friends in Sanskrit language.He is said to be 5th Buddha who is going to appear in this current era. It is told that when practicing as a bodhisattva Maitreya Buddha specialized in the meditation of great love .His meditation is said to be so powerful enough that those who are passing by him would also get the portion of realization of his great love. Images of Maitreya Buddha are found throughout the Buddhist literature, many of them represent his promise that he is still yet to come.
According to Prophecies, It is said that the Maitreya took vows from the great power Tathagata(Gautama Buddha) in front of many other Buddha. He is believed to be still meditating in the Tushita heaven and will be descending to earth to teach new dharma once the teaching of Gautama Buddha has vanished. He will achieve nirvana and will teach path of enlightenment to many other people, which is when he will be regarded as a true successor of the living Buddha The Gautama Buddha.
Maitreya Buddha is believed to express his prayer of love and has been practicing the prayer as always.It is believed that those people who follow the teaching of the great Shakyamuni Buddha in the present time will have chance of being the direct disciples of Maitreya Buddha himself in future when he descends on earth. Buddha Maitreya will eventually lead the disciples to the path of total enlightenment.
Postures and Gestures:
He is often shown seated in European manner with hanging legs and clothed as Buddha himself. He is also shown as bodhisattva standing and wearing different jewels. In some cases he is also shown seated with his legs in lotus position. Often, he is found wearing a small stupa in his headdress. However his attributes can vary some times when he is seen holding a vase or chakra placed on lotus. Sometimes in his left shoulder there is an antelope skin and scarf around the waist.
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