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    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Buddhas of the Past, Present and Future

    30. Kashyapa
    In Buddhist tradition, Kashyapa (Kassapa, Pali; Tibetan: Osung) is the name of a Buddha, prior to the historical Buddha. Most of the details of his life mirror those of Shakyamuni Buddha, e.g. born of high cast royal family, attained enlightenment under a banyan tree, etc. Kashyapa is said to have died at the age of two thousand years.

    31. Shakyamuni Buddha
    Siddhartha Gautama (Sanskrit; Pali: Siddhāttha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from ancient India and the historical founder of Buddhism. Buddhists universally recognize him as the Supreme Buddha of our age. The time of his birth and death are uncertain: a majority of 20th century historians date his lifetime from circa 563 BCE to 483 BCE, while some more recent scholars have suggested dates around 410 or 400 BCE for his death. Other historians have not yet accepted this alternative chronology.


    32. Maitreya
    The name Maitreya or Metteyya is derived from the word maitri (Sanskrit) or mettā (Pali) meaning "loving-kindness", which is in turn derived from the noun mitra (Pali) in the sense of "friend". Maitreya Bodhisattva is the future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. Maitreya is a Bodhisattva who Buddhists in general believe will eventually appear on earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure Dharma. Maitreya Bodhisattva will be the successor of the historic Shakyamuni Buddha. He is predicted to be a “world-ruler”, uniting those over whom he rules. Maitreya’s coming will occur after the teachings of the current Buddha Shakyamuni are no longer taught and are completely forgotten. Maitreya is predicted to attain Bodhi in seven days (which is the minimum period), by virtue of his many lives of preparation for Buddhahood (similar to those reported in the Jataka stories of Shakyamuni Buddha).

    Maitreya’s coming is characterized by a number of physical events. The oceans are predicted to decrease in size, allowing Maitreya to traverse them freely. This event will also allow the unveiling of the “true” dharma to the people, in turn allowing the construction of a new world.

    In Mahayana schools, Maitreya is traditionally said to have revealed the Five Treatises of Maitreya through Asanga. These important texts are the basis of the Madhyamaka and Yogachara tradition and constitute the majority of the Third Turning of the Wheel of Dharma.

    (THIS IS REALLY WHAT SCIENTOLGISTS BELIEVE! L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Dianetics and Scientology, suggested he was "Metteya" [Maitreya] in the 1955 poem “Hymn of Asia”. Hubbard’s editors indicated, in the book's preface, specific physical characteristics said to be outlined -- in unnamed Sanskrit sources -- as properties of the coming Maitreya; properties which Hubbard's appearance reportedly aligned with.)