Literally, the term maitreya means "love." This term has several levels of application.
1. As a title: "A Permanent Buddha or Buddha of Contemplation is a Buddha who has already Christified himself, a Buddha that has already received the Inner Christ (Chenresig / Avalokitesvara) within his own internal nature. This type of Buddha is a Buddha Maitreya, since it is a Buddha who incarnated the Inner Christ (this is how the term “Maitreya” should be understood). So, Buddha Maitreya is not a person: Buddha Maitreya is a title, a degree, which indicates any given Buddha who already achieved Christification." - Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
2. In Mahayana Buddhism, Maitreya is the “Buddha of the Future” and is the only Buddhist figure represented seated in a chair, Western style. A Russian traveller, Nicholas Roerich, recorded the following prediction made by a Tibetan lama: “First will begin an unprecedented war of all nations. Afterward, brother shall rise against brother. Oceans of blood shall flow. They shall forget the meaning of the word Teacher (buddha, guru). But then shall the Teachers appear and in all corners of the world shall be heard the true teaching. To this word of truth shall the people be drawn, but those who are filled with darkness and ignorance shall set obstacles. As a diamond, glows the light on the tower of the Lord of Shambhala. One stone in his ring is worth more than all the world’s treasures. Even those who by accident help the Teachings of Shambhala will receive in return a hundredfold. Already many warriors of the teaching or truth are reincarnated. Only a few years shall elapse before everyone shall hear the mighty steps of the Lord of the New Era. And one can already perceive unusual manifestations and encounter unusual people. Already they open the gates of knowledge and ripened fruits are falling from the trees. The banner of Shambhala shall encircle the central lands of the Blessed One. Those who accept him shall rejoice. And those who deny him shall tremble. The denier shall be given over to justice and shall be forgotten. And the warriors shall march under the banner of Maitreya.”
The Venerable Buddha Samael explained that Maitreya is a very ancient Christified Master who has been teaching the Tibetan Buddhists for centuries. He is a true Bodhisattva of the Direct Path, a Being who is one with the Cosmic Christ Avalokiteshvara, Kuan Yin, Kuan Shi Yin, Xisutrus, Vishnu, Chokmah. Not all of the Buddhas follow the Direct Path; most of them are Buddhas Pratyekas (Nirvanis of the Spiral Path). As in Esoteric Christianity we call Christ anyone who becomes one with the Cosmic Christ, likewise, in Esoteric Buddhism we call Maitreya any Buddha who renounces Nirvana for the sake of deluded mortals. The so-called “Buddha of the Future Age” is of course Samael because He is a Maitreya Buddha, a Buddha from the Direct Path, a very ancient Buddha from ancient Mahamanvantaras who became the life-core of the Planet Mars, the Warrior Buddha, the God of War in heaven and earth; the one who (many times in this Aryan Race, since he is the one who “cosmically” is directly responsible for this present Aryan Race, the fifth race, the Race of Aryes) has been frequently incarnated in Tiphereth within those Buddhas who renounced Nirvana and took the Direct Path. Any Buddha who renounces Nirvana for the sake of deluded mortals becomes, as a matter of fact and by his own right, a Buddha Maitreya, because they incarnate Him. As Samael Aun Weor wrote in The Aquarian Message, "The one who writes this book gives testimony of this prophecy, because I am the servant or Bodhisattva of the fifth of the seven. The Son speaks the word of the Father and he gives testimony of the Father. The Father is one with the Son, the Son is one with the Father. The Son feels that he is unworthy to undo the buckles of the Father’s shoes. Only the Father is perfect. The Father is glorified in the Son and the Son is glorified in the Father. The Maitreya Buddha Samael is the Kalki Avatar of the New Age; he is the one who sat upon the white horse. Nevertheless, his son, the poor servant who writes this Aquarian Message, really does not feel worthy of kissing the sacred feet of the Father. Therefore, the Buddha Maitreya gloriously shines, but his son kneels before him."