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į”kyamuni   - An Exhibition of Rare Thankas

Thanka No. 03

Ėrya Maitreya 

Ėrya Maitreya

Collection: Spituk monastery

School of art: Tsang-bris

20th century


He is regarded as a future Buddha who will come down in the world to liberate the sentient beings when į”kyamuni 's teachings will disappear from the earth. It is believed that at present, he lives in the TuĄita Loka in the form of a Bodhisattva. On the humble request of Asa“ga, he composed five books in order to disclose the implicit contents of the Wisdom Sutra of į”kyamuni Buddha. The different stages of the path, viz, the five spiritual paths and the ten grounds of Bodhisattva are the steps that are to be traversed from the ordinary level i.e., P¤thakjana stage up to the Buddhahood. Moreover, he is reported to have held that the sentient beings are innately endowed with Buddha nature (Tath”gata- garbha) and therefore, it is proved that the sentient beings can attain Buddhahood by eliminating the mental defilements.

Ėrya Maitreya is the central figure depicted as sitting in the chair decorated with various precious ornaments. It symbolizes that he is ready to get up from the chair and come down in the world. His hands are in the preaching gesture and hold lotus flowers. He is flanked by his two chief disciples, viz. Avalokiteævara and Maµjuær¢ on his right and left respectively. On the lower right is Atiæa and on the left is Tsongkha. On the bottom right is Brom Stonba, on the left Ngog Legspai Sherab and in the centre is Padmasambhava. In the right corner of the bottom is Pektse and on the left Vajrap”øi).

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