Description Of Form
There are many different forms or images of the Maitreya, yetmany of these forms of Maitreya hold a stupa, in his crown. This contains a sarira or real relic of the Buddha Sâkyamuni. In the Shingon Tradition, it is taught that this stupa represents Mahâvairocana Buddha.
Purpose and Vow
Maitreya Bodhisattva is the buddha who saves the world of the future. Sâkyamuni was born in this world 2,500 years ago and preached the teachings of salvation for all humanity. After the passage of 5,670,000,000 years into the future after the death of Sâkyamuni, Maitreya Bodhisattva will appear in the world and save all beings who have lost their way. At that time, a flower known as the Dragon Blossom will bloom, and Maitreya Bodhisattva will convene a gathering three times to preach the teachings and save the world. This is referred to as the Three Gatherings of the Dragon Blossom.
Another name for Maitreya Bodhisattva is Jishi Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva of compassion, and this is because he expresses his vow to save all beings in the world with a mind of compassion.
Kôbô Daishi is in the Tusita Heaven, which is the pure land of Maitreya Bodhisattva, and he guarantees Maitreya's vow, having attained salvation in this present world. It is for this reason that Kôbô Daishi is said to grant salvation during the time between the death of Sâkyamuni and the appearance of Maitreya, and is a source of great spiritual light as the Bodhisattva between these two Buddhist deities.
On maitareiya sowaka (Jpn.)
Om Maitreya svâhâ (Skt.)
Om Compassionate One svâhâ
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