Sunday, August 05, 2007

Maitreya

Maitreya China AD 524
Maitreya
China, 6th C. AD

To Buddhists, Maitreya is the Buddha who is to come.

There should be no need of another Buddha. The previous Enlightened One, some 2,500 years ago, told us what we need to know and do. His teaching remains pure and shining, so much that even Akbar -- one of the best, or least bad, of the Mughal Emperors -- could express its message succinctly: "The world is a bridge; pass over it but build no house upon it."

Non-attachment, freedom from desire, kindness to all creatures, and all else that flows from the Buddha's Four Great Truths and Eightfold Path have only the most precarious hold in this world of transitory appearances. Rather are we drearily enfolded in loss, pain, and threat. The signs have never looked worse in my lifetime. A militant, at time violent drive toward a single worldwide Muslim Caliphate; the breakup of nations into squabbling tribes carried by mass migration; ecological near-bankruptcy; and a Western civilization most of whose people are drugged on consumerism.

Perhaps things have always looked this bad. Serious reading of history tells us that things were always falling apart, the best in decline. Sometimes it was worse than that, like when the European unities of the Middle Ages were undone and Europe was torn to shreds in the 16th century by religious wars and persecutions.

I can understand the situation no further than that each of us must do what we can for goodness, and remember that we see only through the eyes of matter, not of Spirit -- except in rare circumstances. The Eastern traditions that we know principally as the Vedanta and Buddhism tell us that when humanity has thoroughly lost the way, a new Enlightened Master appears to relight the million candles that have burned themselves out.

Lama Govinda was meditating in a monastery when he had a vision arising from a stone wall that he identified with Maitreya, and which he described in The Way of the White Clouds:
I only felt that there was something about the surface of this wall that held my attention, as if it were a fascinating landscape. But no, it was far from suggesting a landscape. These apparently accidental forms were related to each other in some way; they grew more and more plastic and coherent. Their outlines became clearly defined and raised from the flat background ...

Before I knew how it all happened, a majestic human figure took shape before my eyes. It was seated upon a throne, with both feet on the ground, the head crowned with a diadem, the hands raised in a gesture, as if explaining the points of an intricate problem: it was the figure of Buddha Maitreya, the Coming One, who already now is on his way to Buddhahood, and who, like the sun before it rises over the horizon, sends his rays of love into this world of darkness, through which he has been wandering in innumerable forms, through innumerable births and deaths.
Not yet a Buddha, Maitreya is in this world now, perhaps confused as we are, fearful as we are, human as we are. Still, perhaps, trying to build on that bridge that exists only to cross from matter to Spirit. Many lives have passed, many more await in the womb of time.

You might be acquainted with this Maitreya: someone you have been with all your life, whose mind you think you know but of which you are ignorant of all but the tiniest, surface part. Maitreya is learning the lessons of the school of the physical plane, and finding it to be a hard school, but slowly realizing the glory of the Light and how to transmit it once again when the time comes. It could be Maitreya bears your name while on the short thread between this birth, this death.

maitreya lotus

4 comments:

YIH said...

As I mentioned over at VA; you can put links in Blogger comments.
It's just that neither Blogger nor Haloscan's comment systems automate it (like Blogger's posting page does).

Rick Darby said...

YIH,

Thanks. I've successfully included links in the Blogger comment box, but can't seem to make it work with Haloscan. But I'll keep trying.

YIH said...

I wrote the comment on VA as;



Just something or other <a href="http://www.lileks.com/">I like the nostalgia on Lileks's site</a>.



If you'd like, go ahead and use the Haloscan HERE to try it out.
Despite the rare glitch (and they ARE rare), Haloscan usually works quite well.
You should give it a try.
BTW, you can 'cut and paste' the above and it will come up as a link.
I used the braces as a quick subsitute for the awkward to write <>...

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