Maitreya


Maitreya
In Buddhist tradition, the future Buddha who will descend to earth to preach again the dharma (law) when the teachings of the Buddha Gautama have completely decayed.

Until then, Maitreya is believed to be a bodhisattva residing in the Tusita heaven. Mentioned in scriptures from the 3rd century AD, he is the earliest bodhisattva around whom a cult developed and is still the only one generally honored by the Theravada tradition. His images, found throughout the Buddhist world, convey an air of expectancy and promise.

Miroku (Maitreya) in meditation, gilt bronze figure, Japanese, Asuka period, 7th century; in the ...

The Cleveland Museum of Art, John L. Severance Fund, 50.86

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 in Buddhist tradition, the future Buddha, presently a bodhisattva residing in the Tuṣita heaven, who will descend to earth to preach anew the dharma (“law”) when the teachings of Gautama Buddha have completely decayed. Maitreya is the earliest bodhisattva around whom a cult developed and is mentioned in scriptures from the 3rd century AD. He was accepted by all schools of Buddhism and is still the only bodhisattva generally honoured by the Theravāda tradition.

      The name Maitreya is derived from the Sanskrit maitrī (“friendliness”). In Pāli the name becomes Metteyya, in Chinese Mi-lo-fo, in Japanese Miroku, and in Mongolian Maidari; in Tibetan the bodhisattva is known as Byams-pa (“kind,” or “loving”). His worship was especially popular during the 4th to 7th century, and his images are found throughout the Buddhist world; many of them beautifully convey his characteristic air of expectancy and promise. He is represented in painting and sculpture both as a bodhisattva and as a buddha, and he is frequently depicted seated in European fashion or with his ankles loosely crossed.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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