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Maitreya and the paramitas

The transcendent practices emphasized by Maitreya are patience, meditation, and generosity.

As he sits waiting, either for worldly conditions to ripen or perhaps for his own realization to fully mature, Maitreya epitomizes the practice of patience. His future has been prophesied. He has no choice but to wait, although he may incarnate in the world in various congenial forms during the intervening period. We can learn from Maitreya that patience is not something we have any choice about.

Learning patience is a matter of finding peace and balance with the unresolved or unsatisfactory when there is nothing that can be done except to wait it out. Of course, some situations allow us to take positive, constructive actions to help improve or alleviate conditions, although such actions also usually involve patience. But when we can do nothing, or cannot yet see how to act, it may be helpful to follow Maitreya's model of contemplative consideration, waiting patiently.

Maitreya's meditation concentrates on the study of self, examination of the nature of consciousness in order to discover the cause of suffering and the mental conditions for full awakening. This practice of the meditation paramita acts as a support for Maitreya's practice of patience. To become intrigued and absorbed in the yogic study of reality, consciousness, and the way things work together is a productive mode of waiting patiently. Thus Maitreya, in his waiting, deeply contemplates the arising, falling, and interactions of phenomena, especially including his own mental processes as they interact with the world. The clarity and self-knowledge from this contemplative awareness are naturally strong supports for all the other transcendent practices, allowing fuller generosity and skillfulness.

Maitreya's approach to the practice of generosity is based on loving-kindness and devotion. Maitreya simply wishes happiness to all beings, extending sweet, loving thoughts to all. In such a mental field, his intention clarified by his meditation, he naturally gives what he can.