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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Maitreya

(Metteyya in Pāli) The next Buddha according to the Buddhist traditions. The name comes from Sanskrit root Maitr… meaning love and compassion.

Buddhism believes that not only were there previous Buddhas prior to Siddharta Gautama, but that there will be ten more Buddhas in the future, the next one of which will be Maitreya (Anagatavamsa). He is said to dwell in Tuita Deva world and will be born at a time when Buddhism has come to a decline (Digha Nik€ya).

This belief in the coming of the Buddha of the future is similar to the Christian expectation of the second coming of Christ, the KALKI-AVATšR of the Hindus, the Saoshyant (Savior) of the Zoroastrian, and the Messiah of the Jews.

Theosophical literature agrees with the view that Siddh€rtha Buddha was the fourth Buddha and the coming Buddha will be Maitreya. Alfred P. SINNETT, in his Esoteric Buddhism, wrote that “The fifth, or Maitreya Buddha, will come after the final disappearance of the fifth race, and when the sixth race will already have been established on earth for some hundreds of thousands of years. The sixth will come at the beginning of the seventh race, and the seventh towards the close of that race” (Esoteric Buddhism, p. 171). Blavatsky wrote that “The fact is that Maitreya was a follower of Buddha, a well-known Arhat, though not his direct disciple, and that he was the founder of an esoteric philosophical school” (TG, “Maitreya”).

For later theosophical writers such as Charles W. LEADBEATER, Maitreya is the present Bodhisattva in charge of the world’s religions, and that he had previously incarnated as Krishna of India, and overshaddowed the disciple Jesus as the Christ in Palestine.

P.S.H./V.H.C.

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