Future Buddha Maitreya

Within our Order we have a Calendar for the Buddhist Year. January 1st is traditionally when we celebrate the Festival of Maitreya Bodhisattva. In China Hotei is honored in all the temples as Maitreya and there is a reason why too (that will be unveiled latter). Hotei was an historical tenth-century Chinese Zen monk called Budai. He is said to have wandered about and spent his time in villages streets rather than in the security of temples. Hotei’s name means “cloth bag” and he is usually depicted carrying a sack which is full of toys for children. I very much enjoy this warm hearted, joyous and playful depiction of Maitreya.

“It is said that just before he passed away Hotei recited a poem which expressed his regret that even though Maitreya sometimes appears in the world, he is unrecognized by people of the time. This led to the association of Hotei with Maitreya that has endured ever since.” Borrowed from Bodhisattva Archetypes

Of course we all carry the capacity to be the future Buddha…now!

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9 thoughts on “Future Buddha Maitreya”

  1. Happy New Year Rev. Mugo. The mountain photos say it all.

    A thought just occurred to me as I read this. It seems somehow curious that a religious practise which is constantly inviting trainees to come back to the vast fullness of the present moment should also recognise the future, that which is to come, through Maitreya. However, training shows us that there is surely no difference between past, present and future because they’re all the same thing, so long as we train. We can never leave this moment, whether we call it the past, present or future.

  2. Thanks Robert, you and Vimalakirti together. In the Vimalakirti Sutra Maitreya’s future buddhahood, or rather his thinking on time, was thrown into question. He pointed out more or less what you have said in your comment. Layman Vimalakirti lives on….
    When I can get my head around it I was going to tackle Uji, Dogen’s teaching on time. Perhaps his key teaching.

  3. My tendency is to find books that are helpful and read them and then something else comes along…and I forget about the other ones.
    However, right off the top of my head, a real basic Buddhist book that I do keep coming back to is:
    ‘What the Buddha Taught’ by Walpola Rahula. (I see that it was first published in 1959 and may still be in print.) The other one I can think of is ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ which at one time I read every year.

  4. I’ve heard people mention Vimalakirti around Throssel but am unsure who or what he represents. Would you mind saying something about him sometime please?

  5. On your article about Hotei Osho (Pu Tai Ho Shang) you said his name was “Budai”, this is in fact how the chinese pronounce Pu Tai. According to Reverend Master Jiyu’s Iconographical lecture his real name is not known but he used to call himself “Chi Tse” or evan “Chang Ting Sze”. I hope you don’t mind me being picky about this.

    Posted on behalf of the person who wrote the above. And no, I don’t mind this input at all.

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