Sunday, November 23, 2008
The bodhisattva and next Buddha of this age is Maitreya (see the new Maitreya Outline Page). He is well represented in art both in painting and sculpture. There are two common but different appearances for depicting Maitreya. The first is as a bodhisattva wearing jewels and silks, often seated in a relaxed posture. The second is that of a fully enlightened Buddha having the major and minor marks, such as they appear in art. There are several other forms, based on literary sources, that can best be characterized as Tantric, or at least coming out of Tantric Traditions. They are not commonly found in art which probably attests to their lack of popularity as meditation practices. The most unique feature in the depictions of many of the Maitreya images are the two legs seated in a Western posture. Also, he will often be shown with a small stupa on the crown of the head.