【Maitreya Dharmalakṣaṇa Brief Introduction】
The image of Maitreya in the Womb Realm – Maitreya wears a crown with a pagoda on the center top of the crown. Inside the pagoda are relics. He holds his left hand before his chest with an open palm. His right hand holds a lotus. On top of the lotus is a vase. He sits atop a thousand-petaled lotus and is adorned with jewels on the left and right sides of his body. His appearance is that of a magnificent buddha.
The image of Maitreya in the Diamond Realm – is the same as his image in the Womb Realm except that he holds his mudra before his chest with thumb, index finger and little finger extending straight up while the middle finger and ring finger are bent downward. His left hand is placed on top of his knee.
【Living Buddha Lian-sheng Sheng-yen Lu Dharma Discourse – Maitreya Background and Key Cultivation Formula】
Maitreya has many names such as The Benevolent One, Ajita, and The Invincible One.
Maitreya was born a Brahman in South India. He later received Shakyamuni Buddha’s teaching. Shakyamuni prophesied that Maitreya would become a bodhisattva, then a buddha in the future. Maitreya was one of the ancient buddhas. He was also a follower of Charitable Thought Buddha.
In the Womb Realm Mandala, this deity is located northeast of the center of the Eight Petal Hall. In the Diamond Realm Mandala, this deity is located east of the sixteen honored ones of Bhadrakalpa. The Mahacakra in the Womb Realm is a wrathful manifestation of Maitreya Bodhisattva.
Maitreya”s Tushita is the fourth of the six desire realms and is located above Yama. Because the devas in this realm enjoy charity and pursuing happiness, it is also called the Joyful Realm. In the future, disasters of water, fire, and wind will not damage the inner court of Tushita Heaven because everything in the inner court is made from the mani element. You can say that it is a place of infinite, boundless light.
Maitreya received the name of Benevolent Bodhisattva as a result of his accomplishment of Metta Samadhi, which is practicing to achieve Samadhi of a compassionate heart. This means that one always brings happiness to others, alleviates the pain that all beings suffer, and gives joy to all sentient beings. Just as Shakyamuni Buddha is known as mighty in kindheartedness, Maitreya is known as mighty in compassion. One is kindhearted and the other is compassionate. Therefore, in the future, Maitreya will be the number one buddha for saving the most sentient beings in the Saha World. To Tibetans, Maitreya is known as Jampa Buddha, thus he is called Maitreya Buddha or Maitreya Bodhisattva.
Tisya Buddha, during his era, had two disciples: Shakyamuni and Maitreya. Maitreya’s achievements were so high that he not only exceeded Shakyamuni, but this Maitreya Jampa Buddha also perfectly accomplished all practices. Jampa Buddha thought that the Saha World needed a Mighty Buddha King of Great Authority. However, according to Tisya’s observation, Shakyamuni’s affinity with the Saha World had matured before Maitreya’s. It was therefore Shakyamuni who descended and was reborn in the human world, and who became the founder of Buddhism in the Saha World. As for Maitreya, he will come to the Human Realm at a later time. Maitreya is also a Mighty Buddha King of Great Authority.
The adobe of Maitreya is in the inner court of the Tushita Heaven, where he preaches Buddhadharma to covert beings. It was noted that after 5,670,000,000 years, he will be reborn in Jambudvipa, and achieve enlightenment under a Nagapuspa tree. Subsequently, he will host three major ceremonies, known as ”Nagapuspa Triple Assembly.” When Maitreya descends as a savior, his three largest ceremonies will be this famous Nagapuspa Triple Assembly. Once all three ceremonies are held, all sentient beings will be saved by him. With just one recitation of ”Namo Buddha Ye,” he will convert and deliver all sentient beings. Maitreya uses a very special method to convert all sentient beings, known as ”Consciousness-Only Miraculous Transformation.”
What is this great Miraculous Transformation of the Consciousness-Only? Under the Nagapuspa tree, the brilliant light Maitreya radiates from his heart into everyone’s heart will instantly eradicate the karmic hindrances of all the beings in the Nagapuspa Triple Assembly by directly transforming their hindrances into pure buddha natures and lights. All of these lights are prajna lights with their buddha natures sitting within. They then will ascend together, making a magnificent scene. All these prajna lights will ascend to the Pure Land of the inner court of Tushita Heaven. This is direct attainment of Buddhahood.
Maitreya is the Next Lifetime Succeeding Buddha, that is, he holds the highest rank in the succession of future buddhas. In other words, Maitreya Bodhisattva is in first place to become a buddha in his next lifetime. For this reason, he is the first. Maitreya Bodhisattva is also referred to as No. 1 because his birthday is on the first day of January. As the first in line to become a buddha, in the future he will be another Mighty Buddha King of Great Authority.
In India, Buddhism ultimately ended up in two schools: the Middle Way School founded by Nagarjuna and the Consciousness-Only School which was passed down to Asanga from Maitreya. These two schools comprise the two major doctrines of Buddhism. In fact, Consciousness-Only was what Xuanzang learned and brought back when he travelled to Western Regions to seek sutras and to India to seek Buddhadharma.
Maitreya Mudras: The first Mudra is the Turning the Dharma Wheel Mudra which represents that he is a Great Authoritative Divine King Buddha. The second Mudra is called the Zuduba Mudra, which is also the Pagoda Mudra, Ushnishavijaya Pagoda Mudra, and Chorten Mudra. The third Mudra is Enclosed Lotus Mudra, which is Lotus Mudra with the palms closed. The fourth mudra is Maitreya Perfect Body Assembly Mudra. Maitreya has total of four Mudras. He is the bodhisattva with the most mudras. He is therefore No. 1 and the one in first place.
In Tushita Heaven, where Maitreya preaches, Padmakumara had respectfully asked Maitreya to teach him Buddhadharma. Therefore, Maitreya expounded the Detailed Exposition Dharma.
Padmakumara and Maitreya have a very deep and profound affinity. This is because when Padmakumara descended to our human world, Maitreya personally bestowed a red crown on him. Padmakumara thus became the Holy Red Crown Vajra Guru Venerable Lian-sheng.
Living Buddha Lian-sheng Sheng-yen Lu has read Six Maitreya Sutras as follows: Sutra of Maitreya Reborn Below, Sutra of Maitreya’s Descent, Sutra of Maitreya Reborn Below to Becoming a Buddha, Sutra of Maitreya Becoming a Buddha, Sutra of Visualization of Rebirth into the Tushita Heaven of Maitreya Bodhisattva, and Sutra of Maitreya’s Reborn as a Buddha.
Lu, Sheng-Yen (2013, September 1). True Buddha School Dharma-character Treasury – Maitreya. True Buddha School Net. https://en.tbsn.org/master/detail/11
True Buddha Foundation Dharma Affairs Announcment (2022, July 14th). No. 7: Lunar New Year Wealth God Invitation. True Buddha School Net. https://en.tbsn.org/tbf/detail/482/2023_Lunar_New_Year_Wealth_God_Invitation_Practice.html