Maitreya Buddha is regarded as the Buddha to be born in the future, hence the name Future Buddha, of this fortunate aeon. It is said that his birth will take place in city of Ketumati (Banares ?) ruled by Cakravarti king Sankha. At that time the human beings will live for 80,000 years. It is said that Shakyamuni Buddha before leaving Tusita heaven announced that Maitreya would be his successor.
It is also said that Asanga, the renowned sage of the Mahayana, went to Tusita heaven to meet Maitreya and he was initiated into five doctrines or works viz:
l. Uttaratantra Sastra
3. Mahayana Sutralamkara
4. Madhyanta Vibhaga Sastram
5. Dharma Dharmata Vibhaga Sastram
Maitreya as a Bodhisattva was quite popular in Theravada countries. Maitreya Bodhisattva images can be found in Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand. His images can also be seen in China and Tibet.
Maitreya is yellow in color. He holds in his right hand the flower of Nagakeshar and with the left the mendicant bowl. When he is represented in Buddha posture, his hands show dharmacakra mudra with his legs down on the lotus.