Maitreya, also known as the future Buddha, who has still to come, is nowthought to be waiting in Tushita Heaven for the right time to come down toearth. Tushita heaven is one of the thirty-three heavens over Mount Meru andis considered the special field of Maitreya. Tibetans believe that ifsomeone makes statues and thangkas of Maitreya Buddha and chants the mantra''The Promise of Maitreya Buddha,'' that person will be reborn in TushitaHeaven after death.
The two distinctive marks of Maitreya are the stupa in his crown and thescarf wound and tied around his waist.
Shown with an extremely sweet and gentle countenance, he holds in his righthand, between the thumb and forefinger, the stem of a lotus flower. Thebloom of this lotus supports a wheel. This is the Buddhist wheel ofspiritual instruction. His left hand holds the stem of a flower whichsupports a vase at his shoulder level.