pastel and ink on paper
35.5 x 27.5 inches (frame)
Private Collection

Maitreya is the Buddha of the future.  Here he is shown in the Tushita Heaven waiting for the moment when he is to come to the earth.  He is seated in a cross-legged posture (virasana), with his hands in the gesture of teaching (dharmachakra mudra).  He holds a nagakesara blossom which supports a golden bottle, a sacred vessel (kalasa) full of nectar.  This symbolizes the nectar of the dharma, which he will one day pour onto the world. 

Maitreya’s most devoted disciple was the 4th century saint Asanga who ascended to Tushita where he was taught by Maitreya.  Asanga’s writings formed the basis of the Yogacara school of Buddhism

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