The coming of Maitreya Buddha is something that will happen in the future. There’s a little time left before. In this world age it has been predicted that 1,000 Buddhas will come as universal teachers, and all of these will come during a time when the human life span is declining. The human life span goes through cycles during a world age and the present Buddha, Buddha Shakyamuni, came when the human life span was a hundred on its way down in a declining period. This is still the time of the teachings of the Buddha Shakyamuni. Of the thousand Buddhas of this eon, the present Buddha, Buddha Shakyamuni, is the fourth of these Buddhas and he’s been preceded by the Buddha Kashyapa and two other Buddhas, the first and the second, and the Buddha Maitreya will be the fifth of the 1,000.
In the future the human life span will decline and go down until it’s only ten years. In the future the times will become worse and worse. People’s lives will get shorter and shorter. They’ll go through the life span in a shorter period during the life cycle so that eventually their whole life will pass in ten years; and likewise, they will become smaller in size and it will reach a very awful state in the world. The people of this time in the future will be extremely aggressive and warlike and will always be fighting with each other. Everyone will be the size of midgets that you see in the circus.
But then, after that terrible period, then the times will change and then the human life span will start to increase. If you ask how (does it come about that) the times will change at that period, it will be because an emanation of Maitreya Buddha will come, and he’ll take the form of an extremely beautiful and attractive person. Everyone will see Maitreya and see him having such a beautiful and attractive form, and they will say how did you get that way? He will answer them and say that I became a beautiful person like this as a result of always having meditated on love. Although all these little people at this time won’t have any idea of how to meditate on love, they’ll start to repeat the word “love” and everybody will be saying “love.” Even just repeating the word “love” like this is something that will have great benefits and eventually the life span of people will start to increase and the situation will start to improve.
Then as the life span increases, this will be the period in the world ages when you have the appearance of universal monarchs who have various types of wheels of authority: those that have golden wheels, those with silver, those with copper, and those with iron wheel of authority. This is the time of these great universal monarchs. Eventually it will reach a point where people will live to be 80,000 years old. Once it’s reached this peak of eighty thousand years, then again the life span will start to decrease.
When it starts to decrease from 80,000 years going down, then that’s the time when the next Buddha, Maitreya will come as a universal teacher. The Buddhas all appear as universal teachers when the life span is decreasing and this is because in such a situation when things are getting worse and worse, this causes people to be interested in finding some solution and turning to spiritual matters; whereas, during the periods of time when the life span is increasing and everything is growing better, no one will take interest in trying to find any spiritual path. At that time when the life span of humans has reached such a great length of 80,000 years, this is a time when everything in the world will be very beautiful and happy; that for instance the land itself will not have rough mountains and difficult areas, but everything will be smooth like a beautiful vast plain.
Unlike the Buddha Shakyamuni who had to demonstrate doing very difficult ascetic practices for six years, this will not be necessary, for in the time when the Buddha Maitreya comes, he’ll only give a very brief indication of difficult practices. Why is that? It’s because Maitreya – whose name means love – as a result of his very intense practice and meditation always of love, and this being his major emphasis, there will be less need for such a difficult practice at his time. That’s the result of his tremendous practice of love.
Maitreya composed a short prayer of love, and he has been practicing and reciting this prayer always, and likewise, many others will have said this prayer and this situation of how things will come about at this future time will be the result of all these prayers of love. If now at this present time we follow very well the teachings of the Buddha Shakyamuni, then it has a special feature that we will be reborn among the first of the disciples in the future of the Buddha Maitreya.
If you ask when would Maitreya come in the form of a supreme emanation of body with all the signs of a Buddha and come as the universal teacher, then this is the time that I’ve described in the far future. But in terms of just ordinary types of emanations of Maitreya, these are present in various different situations and undoubtedly are present now working for the sake of all others.
Attention and Self-Awareness
Attending to our body and its sensations
- Paying attention to what is happening inside our bodies
- Noticing states of hyper- and hypo-arousal (anxiety, anger, lethargy, depression, etc.)
- Understanding what a balanced body feels like
Attending to our emotions and feelings
- Paying attention to our minds with practices such as mindfulness
Following a map of the mind
- Being able to identify emotions, their features, and what gives rise to and promotes them
- Learning how to recognize and deal with destructive emotions before they turn into unmanageable emotional states
Understanding emotions in context
- Using critical thinking to see how our emotions relate to our values, needs and expectations
- Appreciating our own value and cultivating a sense of self-worth and inner confidence
- Having a realistic perspective regarding our own limitations and potentials
- Cultivating inner fortitude, resilience, humility and courage
- Understanding that disappointment and distress is a natural part of life
Balancing the body (bringing our physical selves to an active, resilient and balanced state) by:
- Resourcing, where we access resources such as a friend, a favorite place or pleasant memories
- Grounding, where we hold an object that makes us feel supported or grounded
- Activities, such as yoga, tai-chi, listening to music, drawing or meditation
Cognitive and impulse control
- Improving our attention skills, so that we can sustain attention without getting caught up in distractions
- Developing emotional discernment to recognize which emotions are helpful and which are harmful
- Allowing this discernment to transform into a sense of courage and self-confidence that we can take control of our emotion states rather than let them control us
Understanding interdependent systems
- Understanding that interdependence is a law of nature and a fundamental reality of human life
- Seeing that we cannot survive without others
Individuals within a systems context
- Generating a genuine sense of gratitude for others
- Developing a deeper awareness of our potential to shape the lives of others
- Building an aspiration to take actions that ensure wider well-being
Recognizing Common Humanity
Appreciating the fundamental equality of all
- Realizing that humans everywhere are fundamentally equal in wanting happiness and wanting not to suffer
- Expanding the scope of our empathy to include those outside of our “in-group”
Appreciating how systems affect well-being
- Analyzing the cultural, political and social systems that affect us by promoting positive values or by perpetuating problematic beliefs and inequalities
Community and Global Engagement
Our potential for effecting positive change in the community and the world
- Understanding that while we do have limitations, we also have great capabilities
- Seeing that small individual changes can contribute to larger global shifts
Engaging in communal and global solutions
- Recognizing the systems that we live in, and their complexity
- Assessing the short- and long-term consequences of actions
- Minimizing the influence of negative emotions and bias
- Cultivating an open-minded, collaborative and intellectually humble attitude
- Considering the pros and cons of any particular course of action