Maitreya (sanskr. "loving, benevolent") is considered a bodhisattva and a Buddha of the future — the Tathagata, whose arrival is expected after the Buddha Shakyamuni.
Maitreya symbolizes the loving kindness of the Buddha, as well as the aspect of vision, the sense of sight.
Often Maitreya is depicted sitting on the throne, with his feet flat. His body is golden yellow in the hands holding lotus flowers, which eliminate disturbing emotions. On the lotuses are the Dharma Chakra wheel — the symbol of the Teaching, and the vessel with nectar (sanskr. amrita).
Maitreya's coming to the Earth will happen when the life-span of people reaches eighty thousand years. He will be born in a Brahman family, spend twenty thousand years in the world, and then attain Enlightenment under a naga tree, surrounded by 4080 disciples.
At present, the Bodhisattva Maitreya is in Tushita Heaven, where his companions are the Bodhisattvas Manjushrigarbha and Akashavimala, who in the earthly life were Je Tsonkhapa and Jovo Atisha.