Category: Buddhist holidays
Festival is dedicated to the coming to earth of Maitreya — the Buddha of the Future global period. So in Buddhism is called the period of time that comes after the period of 'rule our world of Shakyamuni Buddha'. Maitreya (Sanskrit), Metteyya (Pali), Maitri (Sinhalese), Jampa (Wylie: byams pa) or Di-lặc (Vietnamese), is regarded as a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he is referred to as Ajita.
According to Buddhist tradition, Maitreya is a bodhisattva who will appear on Earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. According to scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor to the present Buddha, Gautama Buddha (also known as Śākyamuni Buddha). The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya refers to a time in the future when the dharma will have been forgotten by most on the terrestrial world. This prophecy is found in the canonical literature of all major schools of Buddhism. Maitreya has also been adopted for his millenarian role by many non-Buddhist religions in the past such as the White Lotus as well as by modern new religious movements such as Yiguandao.
One mention of the prophecy of Maitreya is in the Maitreyavyākaraṇa. It implies that he is a teacher of meditative trance sādhanā and states that gods, men and other beings:
will lose their doubts, and the torrents of their cravings will be cut off: free from all misery they will manage to cross the ocean of becoming; and, as a result of Maitreya's teachings, they will lead a holy life. No longer will they regard anything as their own, they will have no possession, no gold or silver, no home, no relatives! But they will lead the holy life of oneness under Maitreya's guidance. They will have torn the net of the passions, they will manage to enter into trances, and theirs will be an abundance of joy and happiness, for they will lead a holy life under Maitreya's guidance.
Maitreya is typically pictured seated, with either both feet on the ground or crossed at the ankles, on a throne, waiting for his time. He is dressed in the clothes of either a bhikṣu or Indian royalty. As a bodhisattva, he would usually be standing and dressed in jewels. Usually he wears a small stupa in his headdress that represents the stupa with relics of Gautama Buddha to help him identify it when his turn comes to lay claim to his succession and can be holding a dharmachakra resting on a lotus. A khata is always tied around his waist as a girdle.
Some have speculated that inspiration for Maitreya may have come from Mithra, the ancient Indo-Iranian deity. The primary comparison between the two characters appears to be the similarity of their names. Paul Williams claims that some Zoroastrian ideas like Saoshyant influenced the beliefs about Maitreya, such as "expectations of a heavenly helper, the need to opt for positive righteousness, the future millennium, and universal salvation". Possible objections are that these characteristics are not unique to Zoroastrianism, nor are they necessarily characteristic of the belief in Maitreya. It is also possible that Maitreya Buddha originated with the Hindu Kalki, and that its similarities with the Iranian Mithra have to do with their common Indo-Iranian origin.
Maidari-Khural is one of the most solemn holidays, on which monasteries gathers a huge number of people. It is always celebrated for two days in midsummer. People spend the first day in many hours of devout prayer. On the second day the gilded statue of Maitreya is solemnly carried out of the temple and placed on a chariot twined with silk ribbons. It is surrounded by lamas in ceremonial dress. A green horse of plaster is harnessed to the chariot, and the procession sets off around the datsan. This ceremony symbolizes Maitreya’s tour of the universe and the spread of his grace throughout it.
One group of monks drives the chariot, others are ahead or behind it, reading prayers. This procession is moving throughout the day along the outer wall of datsan, long stopping at every turn to her prayers and tea. Hence the name of the holiday — "gyre of Maitreya". The triumph completed an offering holiday treats and gifts to members of the monastic community.
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