Friends, I would like you to meet Maitreya the bodhisattva.  In Buddhist mythology, Maitreya is supposed to be the Future Buddha.  Buddha 2.0, if you will.  The representation you see above was created in the 1st century CE from the region of Gandhara, in present-day Pakistan.

The Maitreya represented here is a fully enlightened being, perfect in wisdom and compassion.  You can tell because he has a halo and anurna, the thing between his eyes representing his magical third eye.  More significantly to me, he has long flowing hair and a mustache, signifying that he is of the real world and is fully engaged in the real world.  He is a worldly being who is fully enlightened at the same time!  I find that idea very attractive.

But wait, it gets better.  Notice that Maitreya is dressed in princely robes and wears the jewelry of a prince, meaning he is financially quite well-off, to say the least.  Best of all, he is physically very fit.  Just look at his abs, he has six-pack abs!  How many enlightened men do you know have six-pack abs?  The Dalai Lama?  I don’t think so, dude.

The first time I saw this representation, I was instantly and irresistibly drawn to it.  It represents everything I aspire to be in this lifetime: an enlightened multi-millionaire, one who reaches perfection in wisdom and compassion, with six-pack abs.