Bodhisattva now abiding in a heaven realm who in the distant
future is due to become the Buddha of the next era. Meaning
"The Loving One" or "The Friendly One",
Maitreya is first mentioned in the Digha Nikaya
of the Pali Tipitaka making him the earliest bodhisattva and
the only one mentioned in the text of both the Theravada
and the Mahayana traditions. Maitreya is believed to often appear
on earth to help people and particularly to teach the
ancient times during periods of political and social crisis
worship of Maitreya would become very fervent and often
give rise to millenniumist movements. Like Avalokitesvara,
Maitreya is usually depicted as a young prince only he
has a stupa in his crown and is
sitting on a throne in a 'Western' posture.
for a project which is building a large statue of the
future Buddha Maitreya in Bodh Gaya, India.
Sponburg and H. Hardacre (Ed.), Maitreya - The Future
Buddha. Cambridge, 1988.