(From the Burmese source.s.)
The Buddha said to Sariputta:-
(From Ceylon Sources.)
Ananda "said to the Blessed One.
'Who shall teach us when thou art gone?"'
And the Blessed One replied:-
'I am not the first Buddha who came upon the earth, nor shall I be the last. In due time anothr Buddha will arise in the world, a holy one, a supremely enlightened one, endowed with wisdom in conduct, auspicious, knowing the universe, an incomparable leader of men, a master of angels and mortals. He will reveal to you the same eternal truths which I have taught you. He will preach his religion, glorious in its origin, glorious at the climax, and, glorious at the goal. He will proclaim a religious life, wholly perfect a pure, such as I now proclaim. His disciples will number many thousand, while mine number many hundred.'
Ananda said, 'How shall we know him?'
The Blessed One replied, 'He will be known Maitreya.......................'
The Gospel of Buddha by Carus. PP. 217-8
The Buddha said:-
"Monks. in the days when men live 80000 years, there will arise in the world a Buddha named Metteyyo (the benevolent one), a holy one (Arahat), a supremely enlightened one, endowed with wisdom in conduct; auspicious, knowing the universe, an incomparable charioteer of men who are tamed; a master of and mortals; a Blessed Buddha; even as I now have arisen in the world, a Buddha with these same qualities endowed. What he has realised by his own supernal knowledge he will publish to this universe with its angels, its fiends, and its archangels, and to the race of philosophers and brahmins, princes and peoples; even as I now having all this knowledge do publish the same unto the same. He will preach his religion, glorious in its origin, glorious at the climax, glorious at the goal, in the spirit and the letter. He will proclaim a religious life wholly perfect and thoroughly pure, even as I now preach my religion, and a like life do proclaim. He will keep up a society numbering many chousand. even as I now keep up a society of monks numbering many hundred."
Buddhist and Christian Gospes by Edmunds. Vol II. PP. 160-1.
"At that period, brethren, there will arise in the world an Exalted One named Metteya, Arahant, fully Awakened, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher for gods and men, an Exalted One, a Buddha even as I am now. He, by himself, will thoroughly see and know, as it were face to face, this universe, with its world of the spirits, its Brahamas, and its Maras, and its world of recluses and Brahmins, of princes and peoples, even as I now by myself, thoroughly know and see them. The truth (the Norm) lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation, will he proclaim, both in the spirit and in the letter; the higher life will he make known, in all its fulness and all its purity, even as I do now. He will be accompanied by a congregation of some thousands of brethren, even as I am now accompanied by a congregation of some hundreds of brethren.
Cakkavatti-Sihanada Suttanta. The Mahabodhdi Society Translation.
(From the Chinese-Sanskrit sources.)
"In the old days when the Tathagata was living at Rajagriha (Wang-she), on the Gridhra-kuta(others think at "Benares") mountain, he spoke thus to the Bhikshus: 'In future years, when this country of Jambudvipa shall be at peace and rest, and the age of men shall amount to 80000 years, there shall be a Brahman called Maitreya (Sse-che). His body shall be of pure gold, bright, glistening and pure. Leaving his home he shall become a perfect Buddha, and preach the threefold("Thrice repeated") Law for the benefit of all creatures. Those who shall be saved are those who live, in whom the roots of merit have been planted through my bequeathed Law. These all conceiving their minds in profound respect for three precious objects of worship, whether they be already professed disciples or not, whether they be obedient to the precepts or not, will be led by the converting power (of his preaching) to acquire the fruit (of Bodhi) and final deliverance. Whilst declaring the threefold Law for the conversion of those who have been influenced by my bequeathed Law, by this means also hereafter others will be converted."
Si-Yu-Ki. Vol. 2. Pp. 46-7.
(From the Tibetan sources)
"It is said up to the time when Phanchhen-rinpochhe (The Great Jewel of Wisdom) condescends to be reborn in the land of the P'helings (Westerners) and appearing as the Spiritual Conqueror (Chom-den-da), destroys the error and ignorance of ages, it will be of little use to try to uproot the misconceptions of P'heling-pa (Europe); her sons will listen to none."
The Secret Doctrine by Blavatsky. Vol. III. P. 412.
From the above it is clear that the Buddha Gautama foretold the advent of a person named Maitreya, or Metteyya as his successor.
IDENTIFICATION OF MAITREYA.
Some Buddhists consider that the Buddha Maitreya has appeared (Studies in Japanese Buddhism by Reischaner. P. 264.):
1. "Wu, the mother of the sixth emperor of the T'ang dynasty in China, was presented a Sutra named 'Ta-yun-king, in the year 690. 'It stated that she was Maitreya, the Buddha that was to come'." (Chinese Buddhism by J. Edkins. P. 122.)
2. Kings, Yeula and Vijayavirya, were supposed as incarnations of "Bodhisattva Maitreya." (Life of Buddha by Rockhill. PP. 237-8.)
3. The Burmese monk, Ledi Sayadaw, "has been proclaiming far and wide the near coming of Bodhisattva Maitreya, who, he says, has left the Tusita Heaven, and was in 1914. A. D. on earth as a boy." (The Coming World Teacher by P. Parki, P. 52.)
In the past(Si-Yu.Ki by Beal. V.I. P.226.) as well as in the present(Buddhism and Buddhists in China by Hodous. P.38), Buddhists have pretended to receive written books of revelation, from Maitreya. They have even imagined him to come down from heaven for making the image of the Buddha Gautama(Si-Yu-Ki Vol.II. PP.121-2.).
The above claims have not received the serious attention of the Buddhist world and therefore need comment on our part. The Buddhists. like some of the Theosophists, await the advent of Maitreya in future. The Buddhists all over the world have build images of Maitreya, sometimes as high as 70 feet or more (Hodous PP. 120-1). The European traveller well knows the "Laughing Buddha" Maitreya of the Chinese (Ibid PP. 20-1).
WAS SHANKARACHARYA THE BUDDHA MAITREYA?
Some Brahmans consider the Buddha Gautama as the 9th Avatar of Vishnu (The Essence of Buddhism by L Narasu. P. 27 Foot Note). Some Brahmans a1ong with the Theosophists consider that Shankaracharya was the expected Maitreya:-
"Esoteric teaching is to the effect that Shankaracharya was a Buddha in all respects, in a new body........ I have received the information I am now giving from a Brahman Adwaiti, of Southern India- not directly from the Tibetan instructor.........Some of the later incarnations of Buddha are described differently as overshadowings by the SPIRIT OF BUDDHA, but in person of Shankaracharya he reappeared on earth. The object he had in view was to fill up some gaps and repair certain errors in his own previous teachings; for there is no contention in the esoteric Buddhism that even a Buddha can be absolutely infalliable at every moment of his career....." (Esoteric Buddhism by A.P.Sennett. P.149)
Shankaracharya cannot be the Buddha Maitreya, for:
1. he never gave out in his life time that he was the Buddha Maitreya;
2. his life, as will appear later on, does not display the "TEN PERFECTIONS" (Warren PP. 22-37), a necessary possession for a FULLY ENLIGHTENED BUDDHA;
3. he took up the cause of the Vedas (Satyarath Prakash by Mool Shankar PP.415-16) against the Buddhists. Shankaracharya writes: -
(a) "The Veda.s are the highest authority" (Sankaras Select Works, by S. Vankataramanan P. 205)
Some oriental and occidental scholars and the Buddhist divines consider that the Buddha Gautama made light of the Vedas: -
(a) "Empty, forsooth, are these Vedas, and as chaff. There is in them neither reality, nor worth nor essential truth". (S. B. E. Vol. XXV. P. 18.) - Nagasena
This view is supported by numerous sayings of Sakya Muni:-
(a) "Reading the Vedas, making of offerings to priests, or sacrifices to the gods, self-mortification by heat or cold, and many such like penances performed for the sake of immortality, these do not cleanse the man, not free from delusions." (Buddhism by Rhys Davids. P. 131.) - Amagandh( Sutt)
Shankaracharya did not give it out in his lifetime that he was a Buddhist and a reformer of Buddhism. He was one of those who were antagonistic to Buddhism and succeeded in destroying or driving it out from India. (Shankaracharya by Sita Nath Datta.)
Some more reasons we shall give later on.
WAS JESUS THE BUDDHA MAITREYA?
For sometime past some learned men of East and West have been advertising that Jesus was the Buddha Maitreya:-
(1) "Will the Buddhists ever learn that this Buddha of the future, this Maitreya, this teacher of love, and not of the law, has appeared ?" (Chips from a German Workshop. Vol. 1. PP. 452-3.) - Max Muller
We shall refute this view at length, but here only in brief:-
(1) From the study of the four Gospels we can say that Jesus in his lifetime never gave it out that he was the Buddha Maitreya.
The view of Blavatsky that Jesus shall be Maitreya in his second advent, is untenable. If Jesus at all returns to the world again, he cannot put forward the claim of being this Maitreya for,
(a) "The same Jesus"(Acts 1:11), "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven"(I Thes.4:16), "coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory."(Matt. 24: 30). Contrary to this the Buddhist prophecy demands that this Maitreya must be born on earth (THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF BUDDHA by A. Dharampal P. 82) and of human parents who must be different from Joseph and Mary. (M. B. J. May and June 1928. P. 280.)
Hence neither the 'Christian nor the Buddhist scriptures support the view of Blavatsky that Jesus shall be Maitreya Buddha in his second advent. And "the scripture can not be bróken." (John. 10: 35.)
EQUIVALENTS OF MAITREYA
The person whose advent the Buddha Gautama prophesied bears different names in different languages. In Pali his name is Metteyya, in Sanskrit, Maitreya, in Burmese, "Aremideia" (THE LEGEND OF GAUDAMA by Bigandet. Vol. I. P. 11. Foot Note.), in Chinese, "Mei-ta-li-ye" (Si-Yu-Ki Vol. 1. P. XXIX), or "Milie Pusa" (BUDDHIST CHINA by Johnston P. 367.), or "Mili Fo" (Edkins P.208), or "Tzushih" (Yuan Chwang Vol. I. P. 239 by T. Watters), in Tibetan, "Byams-pa" (Pr. 'Jampa' or 'Champa' Lamaism by Waddell P.355) or "Mahitreja" (THE RELIGION OF TIBET AND THE TRUE RELIGION by Frauson P. 38), and in Japanese, "Miroku." (Reischauer PP. 264-5.)
The English equivalent of Metteyya: -
(1) "Teacher of love." - Max Muller (CHIPS FROM A GERMAN WORKSHOP. Vol. I. P. 452).