Featured on our Miroku journal cover is the Miroku Bosatsu Hanka Shiyui statue, a National Treasure at Koryu-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Koryu-ji Temple was built in 603 AD when Prince Shotoku presented Hata no Kawakatsu with a statue of the Buddha. This sculpture, also known as Maitreya Bodhisattva, is believed to belong to that period. Carved into red pine with camphorwood embellishment, this exquisite statue is one of the most beautiful hanka-shiyui images.
As revealed on our illustrated endpaper, Maitreya, meaning “the Loving One, the Friend,” sits in stillness as the guardian of the Teachings of the Buddha, as the Buddha “yet to come.” The promise of Maitreya is that, even when the truth of Enlightenment seems forgotten, it is still present, safe within the keeping of Maitreya, until someone looks for it with true eyes and a sincere heart. He is the “going, going, going on” of endless training, always going on beyond, always becoming Buddha. He is a metaphor for Compassion and it is believed that each of us possesses the potential to be Enlightened, revealing an innate Buddha nature during our own lifetimes.
The image gracing our cover comes from a photograph by Kenji Yamazaki, and we have used selected text from RM Koten Benson to tell the story of Miroku.