Historians disagree about Maitreya's history. Many scholars believe that he was a monk named Sthiramati who showed great compassion and kindness toward others. It's said that Sthiramati was so committed to bringing about happiness that he was bestowed the name Maitreya, which means "the loving one."
However, he's sometimes called Hotei, who was a T'ang Dynasty monk renowned for giving candy to children. Chinese Buddhists believe that Hotei was one of Maitreyas incarnations. Others believe that Maitreya incarnated during the time of Krishna as the famous Rishi written of in the Vedas, and also during the time of Goutama Buddhas Earth life.
In some Buddhist populations, it's believed that Maitreya is the bodhisattva (enlightened one) who is successor to Goutama Siddhartha as the next Buddha. He's often portrayed as a smiling Buddha with a protruding belly, called "the Laughing Buddha."
It's prophesied that between 4,000 and 5,000 years after Goutama Buddha left his physical body, Maitreya will reappear on Earth in human form when Buddhism needs reigniting. Maitreya will then teach and lead people through example, and eventually replace Goutama Buddha as the Buddha.
In New Age circles, he's called Lord Maitreya, and he's viewed as a member of the Great White Brotherhood, along with Jesus, Saint-Germain, and Archangel Michael. He's said to be a master of the sixth ray of light of enlightenment and ascension.
I spoke with Maitreya while seated in front of a large Laughing Buddha statue, which seemed to become animated as soon as I mentally began talking with him. A friend of mine, Lynnette Brown, was seated next to me and also heard similar messages from him and saw him move and speak.
Maitreya said, "Laughter is sacred. Laugh more, play more, and sing more to harmonize yourself with the natural world. Even humming moves your vibrational chord outward to mesh with the universe and all of humanity. Music is a gift bestowed upon all of us, from the Allness. Nirvana itself is a song, a dance, and a play. Delight in the unfoldment of this great musical that you call 'life. 'And call upon your enlightenment, not through striving, but on the wings of laughter and song.
"There will come a day when joy will reign once again. Nirvana is joy and carefree laughter. When you laugh, you're most connected to the Infinite, because the breath emitted through laughter is the Allness. A heart filled with gaiety, mirth, playfulness, and laughter is a heart filled with Nirvana-essence. Be childlike eternally, Beloved Being, and worry not about your ancestors or of creation—it in itself is locked in a tight chamber of safety that nothing can permeate or destroy. Life itself is eternal, and an unfoldment of joy.
"By centering your mind on the intention of enjoying yourself, you are centered in the moment, and thus you capture the full flavor of that moment as deliciously as sweet, juicy fruit. Savor its delectable sensations and all of its variety, for life is a banquet and a feast. And just as in a buffet, where you must try various platters to attain the experience that teaches you your likes and dislikes, so must you also gain knowledge through a wide range of experiences. And thus you can be selective as to that which you place on your platter and partake into your belly. Enjoy the process, and be unafraid to taste and sample new selections put before you.
"Laughter truly is, the best medicine of all—you take yourselves far too seriously, and in so doing, you edge out the secret of harmony on your planet: living in joy. Today, seek out ten people who are not smiling, and go out of your way to put a smile on their face. In that way, you will have lit ten candles of light amid darkness."
- Laughter and a sense of humor
- Peace, global and personal
Imagine, or look at, a picture of the Laughing Buddha—with his huge smile, arms extended joyfully upward, and his large belly protruding. His whole manner exudes the complete release and bliss of a good laugh. Imagine yourself rubbing his belly, and feel how "contagious" his laughter and joy are! Perhaps you'll notice yourself smiling, giggling, or even laughing out loud. Notice how your heart fills with warm love, peace, and utter security.
Mentally tell Maitreya about any situation or relationship that troubles you, and notice how he helps you release anxiety. He vows to intervene if you promise to continually monitor yourself for worry, and immediately give all of your concerns to him. Feel the weight lifted from your shoulders, and know that there's nothing to fear.
After spending time with Maitreya, watch a funny movie, read a humorous book, or swap silly stories with a friend. The point is to fully release the situation to him through the follow-up process of engaging in play, laughter, and comedy.