[Chinese: 彌勒 Mílè Fo; Japanese: Miroku; Korean: 미륵; Pali: Metteyya; Vietnamese: Di-lặc; Tibetan: བྱམས་པ་ Jampa], in some Buddhist texts such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he is referred to as Ajita. According to both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism, Maitreya is regarded as the future buddha, 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. 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 is one of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas in Mahāyāna Buddhism, along with Kṣitigarbha, Mañjuśrī, Samantabhadra, Mahāsthāmaprāpta (Vajrapani), Akasagarbha, Avalokiteśvara, and Sarvanivarana-Vishkambhin.
Maitreya is currently living in the Tushita Heaven, but who manifests from time to time to teach living beings. Based on his vows and merit, he will transform this earthly realm into a world of saints similar to the “Western Paradise of Ultimate Bliss,” which is reined over by Amitabha Buddha who created it by his karmic merit.
Living beings who have a karmic connection with him will become his citizens, see this Buddha, hear the dharma, and attain enlightenment. His name literally means The Loving One. His Holiness Dorje Chang Buddha III told us that originally Maitreya was to achieve buddhahood before Shakyamuni Buddha. However, Shakyamuni stayed to listen to a discourse being given by Dipankara Buddha that Maitreya felt he already understood. Because of the insight and merit gained from that one event, Shakyamuni Buddha became the current Buddha. This is how important it is to listen to discourses and read Dharma books, even when you may think you are pretty advanced. See Receiving Dharma.
Bodhisattva’s birthday is celebrated on or near the first day of the first lunar month each year.