Maitreya is regarded as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he is referred to as Ajita. The name Maitreya is derived from the Sanskrit word maitrī “loving-kindness”, which is in turn derived from the noun mitra “friend”. 

oṃ maitri mahāmaitri maitriye svāhā

Maitreya currently resides in the Tuṣita Heaven, said to be reachable through meditation. Gautama Buddha also lived here before he was born into the world as all bodhisattvas live in the Tuṣita Heaven before they descend to the human realm to become Buddhas. Although all bodhisattvas are destined to become Buddhas, the concept of a bodhisattva differs greatly in Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. In Theravada Buddhism, a bodhisattva is one who is striving for full enlightenment, whereas in Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattva is one who has already reached a very advanced state of grace or enlightenment but holds back from entering nirvana so that he may help others.

In Mahayana Buddhism, buddhas preside over pure lands, such as Amitābha over Sukhavati. Once Maitreya becomes a buddha, he will rule over the Ketumati pure land, an earthly paradise sometimes associated with the city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India.

The Maitreya Center

Construction is underway to build the Maitreya Center at Kagyu Thubten Chöling Monastery, in Wappingers Falls, New York.  Overlooking the Hudson River, the Maitreya Center will have shrine halls in both the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.  In addition, it will have accommodations for spiritual teachers; a community and cultural gathering space; and facilities for classes, Dharma projects, and the preservation of sacred texts.

“Buddha Maitreya is the total embodiment of the enlightened love and compassion of all buddhas and bodhisattvas throughout the ten directions.”
~Lama Norlha Rinpoche

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