Thursday, November 13, 2008

Maitreya Buddha 彌勒佛

The Buddha of the Future

Maitreya or Metteyya (मैत्रेय in Sanskrit or 彌勒 in Chinese) is usually referred as a
Buddha (大佛) according to the Tantras, but sometimes as a Bodhisattva (菩薩) according to the Sutras. Bodhisattva literally translates to "Enlightened Being" who is dedicated to attaining Nirvana and have yet but near to becoming a Buddha. The name of Maitreya suggest 'universal loving kindness'. Maitreya is one who is of infinite compassion and knowledge. The image of Maitreya has been portrayed in many forms, especially in the familiar 'pot-bellied' Budai (布袋) Arhat or Laughing Buddha. Maitreya is believed to be presently residing in the Tushita Heaven, a not too distant place which is reachable through meditation, where Bodhisattvas resides until they descend and become enlightened to become Buddha. Maitreya, believed to be the successor of the Śākyamuni Buddha (I have visited the Sakya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple), will eventually descend to Earth in a most chaotic time when all Sakyamuni Buddha's teachings have disappeared from this world. Maitreya will then teach the purest Dharma to all beings, uniting all. It is also believed that those who follows the Dharma faithfully, will eventually be reborned together with Maitreya, where they will be blessed to be taught by Maitreya with the purest Dharma.

'Maitreya Buddha' at Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum, Singapore
Shot on with Nikon D200 at 200mm f/2.8

Photography by William Tan
©William Tan 2008

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