An interesting reminiscence of his (Buddha’s) own boyhood and of the complex moral process by which he subdued and wrought into the instruments of the attainment of his future Buddha-hood was contained in his meditation when he affectionately made the Maitreyavyakarna prediction. It is simple. If you can have a keen and insightful meditation about your own past and all the signs you encountered before you could go forth in search of the highest state of enlightenment then in the same strength you can be able to know the journey of another soul that shall bear the same determination as you have.
Buddha’s thoughts are usually replete with wisdom applicable to every condition of life, besides affording remarkable insight into the seeker’s mind. Clearly, he knew that Ajita’s future situation, thrown at such a distance from him and alone, couldn’t but give him and the other Buddhas immense anxiety for times would change so much in the world and his experience would become forgotten completely in the world just as the Dharma of those before him had become forgotten when he attained his Nirvana.
Thanks to Maitreya’s past lives’ merits and practice of the true precepts by the Teachers, Siddhartha deeply understood that as much had been secured for this Ajita by his particular position and the acquaintance to which he had been recommended for future Buddhahood by other Masters as could be done towards shielding him from the dangers of delusion and self-forgetfulness which would surround him during that evil age when enlightenment would become an abominated topic of discussion among the humans of that civilization. This age is commonly referred to as the Kali Age by the Hindu scripture, when humans would not be able to understand the language of enlightenment much less differentiate good from evil.
But thrown on a wide world, among entire ‘strangers’ (people with the slightest piety for Nirvana), without a friend or Guru to advise him on the Way of Enlightenment, so young too (in his 20s), and with little experience of mankind of that epoch, his Maitreya’s dangers would be great for his potent state of enlightenment would rest on himself – his inner atmosphere or climate. A determination never to do wrong or hurt others, prudence and good humor (why some refer to him as the Laughing Buddha), would go far towards securing to him the estimation of Complete Enlightenment.
When the Buddha recollected that in his teenage and as a prince and heir of his father’s kingdom and that all possible care and direction was given to him and he still managed to go forth and entered renunciation despite all those comforts that accompany princehood, he meditated on the subtle circumstances that Maitreya would have to conquer. But this is the true test of a Buddha – ability to renunciation even in the subtlest of conditions. It’s normally a culmination of resolves made in the past to become a Teaching Buddha. Maitreya would have a different experience since his boyhood would not be premised on the same princely conditions that occasioned the Buddha’s last birth.
All pure, Maitreya would have the good fortune to become acquainted very early in his twenties, despite encountering bad company in the course of his growth from childhood into adulthood, with characters of very high standing as depicted in the history books and begin to feel that incessant wish that he could ever become what they were like. But would he possibly attain that which other mortals live unaware of its existence regardless of the uncountable signs they receive throughout their lives?
In times of difficulties after his own enlightenment, Maitreya would he would ask “What would Buddha and the other Masters of Wisdom do in this situation? What course in it will ensure me their approbation?” This shall be the path that lead him to the destiny of becoming a Buddha and thereafter reveal the same truths that Siddhartha revealed to those whose karma had prepared them well in advance for enlightenment at that opportune moment.
This is the nature of the Perfect Enlightenment as hinted at by all the great awakened men of the remote and recent past for it seeks to bring an everlasting clarity to one’s vision and experience. Everything begins to fall into it’s rightful place and that becomes the start of a once-in-a-lifetime experience of Truth.