In the Front Hall of the Han Buddhist Temples, There is usually a Statue of a Monk with a Smiling Face Enshrined. Who is he?

发布日期:2017-11-22   字体大小:   


He is Maitreya Bodhisatta. According to Buddhist prediction, long after the extinction of the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha in the far future, Maitreya Bodhisatta would become the Buddha and preach in the world. For this reason, he has been held in universal esteem as well. In Chinese history, there were instances in which peasants were called to rebel under the pretext that Maitreya was born, for example, the Maitreya Cult of the Yuan Dynasty. As to the statue of the smiling monk, however, it is not the true image of Maitreya, but the image of a monk named Qici of the Five Dynasties. He usually carried a bag made of a piece of cloth on his shoulder, so he was known as the Cloth-bag Monk. He was said to be an embodiment of Maitreya. That is why later people chose his form to be enshrined as Martreya. Some believe that this tradition may have developed under the influence of the Maitreya Cult, which originated in Fenghua, Zhejiang Province, since this area was the home town of the Cloth-bag Monk. It is logical to infer that the image of the Cloth-bag Monk spread under the influence of the Maitreya Cult.(From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)