In China, the Budai monk (or the Laughing Buddha) has long been considered as the manifestation of Bodhisattva Maitreya. In fact, as foretold by Buddha Sakyamuni in the Maitreya Vyakarana Sutra, the Laughing Buddha (Bodhisattva Maitreya) will become the next or future Buddha of this Saha World.
Maitreya Buddha is to come when Buddhism has been perished in this world. When Bodhisattva Maitreya comes to this world, he will achieve enlightenment and become the Enlightened One, the Buddha, just like what Sakyamuni did some 2,500 years ago in this world. There will be a Renaissance of Buddhism spread by the Bodhisattva Maitreya during that time.
As read from the Infinite Life Sutra (also known as Buddha Speaks of the Infinite Life Sutra of Adornment, Purity, Equality, and Enlightenment of the Mahayana School), the most invaluable message that Maitreya will be preaching in that future will be introducing the Amitabha Buddha and the Pure Land to all beings. Maitreya will be teaching all beings that in order to end their sufferings of the cycles of life and death, one should believe in the inconceivable power of Amitabha and make a vow to be reborn in Amitabha’s Land of Ultimate Bliss, or the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha.
Amitabha, who has created this Western Paradise (the Land of Ultimate Bliss), is speaking the Dharma right now. This is an immense blessing to whomever heard about Amitabha and believed in Amitabha in this world, because Amitabha is helping all who are truly sincere in their vows to be reborn there.
Thus, the Buddha-name chanting would probably be the most invaluable method to the benefits of all beings to learn and end their cycles of life and death and attain perfect enlightenment with the help of Amitabha Buddha in this lifetime.
Given that Buddhism will disappear in the future, we are extremely lucky and grateful that we exist at this time when we can easily get our hands on to the sutras of Buddhism, in particular Pureland Buddhism, so we can get to practice Buddhist teachings in this lifetime.
The simple and easy way to solicit help from Amitabha is to practice on a daily basis the Buddha-name chanting of Amitabha Buddha. For those who are interested, one can check out the chanting method here.
For those interested in the Infinite Life Sutra, one can read the Essence of the Infinite Life Sutra here:
For those interested in understanding more of the Amitabha Buddha and his Western Land of Ultimate Bliss, one can read here:
And to learn more about the method of Buddha-name chanting, one can check it out here: