Tuesday, 1 May 2012

I saw Maitreya Buddha!

Today is Guru Tsog day.  Even though it is Labour Day, which is a public holiday, I woke up at about 6am. Since it was sooooo early I decided to do my prayers. Found that it was actually very nice and conducive doing prayers this early, and the morning breeze smelled different - very fresh and light.  After that I was incredibly hungry, but I fell asleep again.

I had a dream.  I was in some place which looked like a cafe but it was empty, no one was there with no tables or chairs.  A friend appeared and asked me to have coffee and after which we were supposed to visit our mentor's house. We hang around for a while at the place then we set off. We reached the block of flats, our Singapore's pigeon hole houses, which our mentor was supposedly staying in.  We got up to a certain floor.
When we entered the house, it was very big and spacious and our mentor was busy talking to somebody else. My friend led me to the balcony of the flat.  I was so shocked and stunned to see an incredibly awesome scenery in front of us.  We were facing the ocean, with the blue waters at the same level as us, and just a few steps away! It was weird because we were supposedly at a very high floor of that pigeon hole flat! At the side were a couple of mountains with beautiful bright greenery and the ocean was turquoise blue. I gasped because it was really a surprise. There was a couple of people on a small boat, frolicking in the sun.  I had wanted to get into the waters too.  My friend explained to me about the house, how that there was no ocean or mountains when they just moved in... etc... hmmm... 

Then we walked to the back of the apartment and when we got out through a small door, we came out to a garden, with a hill in the background.  As we strolled along in the cool air, we saw an adorable white dog walking past us. Then within mere seconds as I looked up again, somewhere almost perched at the top of the hill, I saw a huge statue of Maitreya Buddha! It was shiny gold in colour. In the dream, I oohh-ed and aahh-ed at the sight, feeling very happy. The end of dream. I think this is the very first time I saw Maitreya Buddha in my dreams, and it is very significant to me personally. May I strive to achieve liberation as soon as possible within this lifetime and be fortunate to be reborn in Buddha Maitreya's pureland, Tushita, be able to see Buddha Maitreya in person and to be able to receive his teachings directly. 

Why I recognised it was Maitreya Buddha, is because he is seated with legs pendant and not crossed.  This is the posture of a teacher, and also represents his being ready to descend from Tushita Pureland. His hands are in the dharmachakra mudra, or the gesture of turning the wheel of Dharma, each holding the stem of a lotus that supports a wheel to his right which represents the teachings he will give when he appears as Buddha on earth and a vase to his left that indicates that he will be born as a Brahmin. The stupa that crowns his head is said to have appeared when he meditated with intense devotion on the present Shakyamuni Buddha whom he considers to be his teacher. 

Maitreya is a Bodhisattva currently residing in the Tushita Pureland. He is considered to be the author of an important commentary on the doctrine of emptiness known as the Abhisamayalankara (Ornament of Clear Realisation), as well as several other texts, collectively known as the Five Treatises of Maitreya. In the far distant future, when the teachings of Shakyamuni, the Buddha of the present era, are lost and forgotten, it is believed that this Bodhisattva will manifest as the Buddha Maitreya and will propagate the perfect path to enlightenment once more.

Arya Asanga transmitted the lineage teachings of
the extensive bodhisattva practices from Maitreya
The story of how the teachings of Maitreya came to be widespread in India goes as follows. The great Indian scholar, Arya Asanga, who with Nagarjuna is regarded as one of the pioneers of Mahayana Buddhism found himself perplexed. He had questions that he felt only the Bodhisattva Maitreya could answer. Consequently he went into retreat to engage in intense meditation on Maitreya. On two occasions he almost gave up in frustration and then finally, after twelve years, when he still had not had a vision of Maitreya, he gave up. 

Going into town, he came across a very sick dog he had ever seen. Thin and weak, she was covered with sores and maggots. Filled with intense compassion, he wondered what he could do for her. His first thought was to remove the maggots until it occurred to him that although this might help the dog, the maggots would be harmed. Cutting a piece of flesh from his own leg for them, he knelt by the dog leaning forward to remove the maggots gently with his tongue. Immediately, the dog vanished and in her stead was Arya Maitreya radiant to behold. Deeply moved, Arya Asanga exclaimed, “Lord, why have you only appeared to me now?” Maitreya replied, “I’ve been here all the time, but your own karmic obscurations prevented you from seeing me. The compassion you showed this dog, cleared the last of these obscurations away.” Maitreya took him to his celestial realm, Tushita, where for a whole day Asanga was able to record his teachings. When he returned to earth and wrote them down these were the Five Treatises of Maitreya.
Buddha Maitreya, the coming Future Buddha who personifies 
loving-kindness (maitri), an aspect of compassion

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