Today we conducted the fire offering to Maitreya Bodhisattva. Maitreya has the Internal Dharma Wheel Turning Mudra and the External Dharma Wheel Turning Mudra. Both are Dharma Wheel Turning Mudras. Why the Dharma Wheel Turning Mudra? This is because in the future when Maitreya is incarnated into the world, there will be the three dragon flower assemblies: the first assembly, the second assembly, and the third assembly. During these assemblies, as long as one chants ''Namo Buddha Ye'' once, one will attain liberation. Thus, all sentient beings will get the chance to be delivered. This special method of deliverance used by Maitreya is the ''Consciousness Only Miraculous Transformation'' method.
According to the scriptures, Maitreya currently resides in the inner court of the Tushita Heaven. Tushita Heaven has an outer court and an inner court. The outer court is the residence for celestial beings, while the inner court is the Pure Land of Maitreya. In China, Maitreya appears as the Cloth Bag Monk who is like Master Zhen San Yuan [san yuan is the homonym for three rounds] featuring a round head, a round chest, and a round abdomen. However in Tibet, Maitreya is not like this. Instead, he appears in the form of a bodhisattva, sitting on a dharma throne, holding the Dharma Wheel Turning Mudra, wearing a crown and, instead of a monk, he appears as a householder. His mantra is: Om, Mi-tre-ya, so-ha.
Maitreya's three dragon flower assemblies to deliver sentient beings are found in the ''Sutra on the Descent of Maitreya,'' ''Sutra of the Coming of Maitreya,'' ''Maitreya's Descent to Attain Buddhahood Sutra,'' ''Maitreya's Great Attainment to Buddhahood Sutra,'' and the ''Contemplation of Maitreya's Ascent to Tushita Sutra.'' Other sutras also mention the three dragon flower assemblies. Many monks and nuns have vowed to be born into the saha world together with Maitreya or to ascend with Maitreya to attain Buddhahood. Shakyamuni Buddha has also prophesied that Maitreya will directly attain Buddhahood in the future during the three dragon flower assemblies. In Tibet, there are five sutras and five treatises associated with Maitreya. ''The Ornament of Clear Realization,'' one of the five treatises, was a discourse given by Maitreya. Presently, there are two remaining Buddhist schools in India - Madhyamaka [the middle way] and Yogacara [consciousness-only]. Maitreya's Yogacara was passed down to us through Asanga and Vasubandhu. This is also the Yogacara tradition learned by the Tang dynasty Buddhist monk Xuanzang when he travelled to India.
There are two points of contention: the vastness of the Madhyamaka school founded by Nagarjuna versus the profundity of the Yogacara school founded by Maitreya. I personally feel that Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism is a combination of Madhyamaka and Yogacara. Why? Although what Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism advocats has all belonged to either the svatantrika or prasangika, both of which are Madhyamaka traditions; in reality, at the last stage of directly attaining Buddhahood, it also engages Yogacara. The concept that ''stored in the tathagata-garbha is the tathagata'' is a Yogacara teaching. Nowadays, we find Buddhists identified with Madhyamaka condemning Buddhists identified with Yogacara and vice versa as their views are not the same. In fact, Madhyamaka and Yogacara can be learned together to attain great achievements. My personal view is that Madhyamaka and Yogacara do not contradict each other. Hence, one should not use Madhyamaka to condemn Yogacara or use Yogacara to condemn Madhyamaka.
The three dragon flower assemblies of Maitreya are very special. How will he deliver the sentient beings? He will shine the light of Buddha-essence on all the people attending the assemblies to remove their karmic defilements, revealing their Buddha-essence all at once, and enabling them to be reborn to the Maitreya Pure Land. It is this simple. Hence, just chant once ''namo buddha ye'' and all will be reborn to the Pure land. There is no need to work so hard in their practice.
If you are willing to wait till the descent of Maitreya, the wait can be hundreds of billions of years. May be it will happen very soon or it will take a very long time, because no one has ever said when is the starting point of this hundreds of billions of years. If you count from the time when the saha world appeared in the universe, several hundreds of millions years have already gone by. So hundreds of billions of years will also be over in a flash. Do not be afraid, and do not think that you have to wait for a very long time. Maybe the time will be here very soon.
Those who registered as main supplicants today have formed an affinity with the three dragon flower assemblies. When Maitreya incarnates into this world and if you are still in the saha world, you will definitely meet him. Is that right? You will definitely attain Buddhahood without doing much practice. As long as he uses the ''Consciousness Only Miraculous Transformation'' method, you will attain Buddhahood. If Maitreya is your Personal Deity, and you practice his sadhana, you can also go to his Pure Land very quickly. At the time when Maitreya incarnates into the world, you can also follow him to be born into the world to help deliver sentient beings. This is also very good. This concludes the introduction to Maitreya Bodhisattva.
!!Please be aware that before engaging in any True Buddha Vajrayana practices, one must first take refuge and receive the respective empowerment.!!
Translated by TBTTs
Translator: Janny Chow
English Proficiency Editor: Simon Chin