The facade of the stupa is decorated with a beautifully painted mural of Maitreya, the future Buddha. Maitreya, it is said, will be reborn in a period of decline to renew the doctrine of the founder of Buddhism, the Buddha Shakyamuni. Maitreya is believed to be a bodhisattva, one who refuses entry into nirvana, a transcendent state free from suffering, out of a compassionate desire to help others. At present, he is believed to reside in Tushita Heaven, where he awaits his rebirth. Descending the steps is the present Buddha, Buddha Shakyamuni.