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Buddhists believe that the universe expands and contracts over endless eons or “kalpas.” Buddhas appear at pre-set times in these eons. The Buddha of our era was Shakyamuni, and the next Buddha to appear will be Maitreya, whose coming will usher in an age of peace. Images of Maitreya are very popular in Buddhist art, either as part of a trinity of Buddhas of the Three Times, or as individual sculptures and paintings often depicting Maitreya standing. Maitreya can be represented both as a bodhisattva and as a buddha.