The Info List - Buddhahood

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In Buddhism
, BUDDHAHOOD ( Sanskrit
: बुद्धत्व _buddhatva_, Pali
: बुद्धत्त _buddhatta_ or बुद्धभाव _buddhabhāva_) is the condition or rank of a buddha (/ˈbuːdə/ or /ˈbʊdə/ , Sanskrit
pronunciation: ( listen ), Pali/ Sanskrit
for "awakened one").

The goal of Mahayana\'s Bodhisattva
path is Samyaksambuddhahood, so that one may benefit all sentient beings by teaching them the path of cessation of _dukkha _. This contrasts with the goal of Hinayana path, where the goal is Arhatship .


* 1 Explanation of the term _Buddha_

* 2 Nature of the Buddha

* 2.1 Spiritual realizations * 2.2 Ten characteristics of a Buddha * 2.3 Buddha as a supreme human * 2.4 Buddha as "just a human" * 2.5 Mahāsāṃghika supramundane Buddha

* 3 Depictions of the Buddha in art

* 3.1 Markings * 3.2 Hand-gestures

* 4 Names of the Buddha * 5 See also * 6 Notes * 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links


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In Theravada
, _Buddha_ refers to one who has become awakened through their own efforts and insight, without a teacher to point out the Dharma
(Sanskrit; Pali
_dhamma_; "right way of living"). A samyak sambuddha teaches the dharma to others after his awakening. A pratyeka-buddha also reaches Nirvana through his own efforts, but does not teach the dharma to others. An Arhat
needs to follow the teaching of a Buddha to attain Nirvana, but can also preach the dharma after attaining Nirvana. In one instance the term buddha is also used in Theravada
to refer to all who attain Nirvana , using the term Sāvakabuddha to designate an Arhat
, someone who depends on the teachings of a Buddha to attain Nirvana. In this broader sense it is equivalent to Arahant .

is the state of an enlightened being, who having found the path of cessation of suffering, is in the state of "No-more-Learning".

There is a broad spectrum of opinion on the universality and method of attainment of Buddhahood, depending on the Shakyamuni
Buddha's teachings that a school of Buddhism
emphasizes. The level to which this manifestation requires ascetic practices varies from none at all to an absolute requirement, dependent on doctrine. Mahayana
Buddhism emphasizes the Bodhisattva
ideal instead of the Arhat.

The Tathagatagarba and Buddha-nature doctrines of Mahayana
Buddhism consider Buddhahood
to be a universal and innate property of absolute wisdom. This wisdom is revealed in a person's current lifetime through Buddhist practice, without any specific relinquishment of pleasures or "earthly desires".

Buddhists do not consider Siddhartha Gautama to have been the only Buddha. The Pali Canon refers to many previous ones (see List of the 28 Buddhas ), while the Mahayana
tradition additionally has many Buddhas of celestial origin (see Amitabha or Vairocana
as examples, for lists of many thousands of Buddha names see _Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō _ numbers 439–448). A common Theravada
and Mahayana Buddhist belief is that the next Buddha will be one named Maitreya (Pali: Metteyya).


Further information: Buddhology

The various Buddhist schools hold some varying interpretations on the nature of Buddha (see below).


The Buddha, in Greco-Buddhist
style, 1st-2nd century CE, Gandhara
(Modern Pakistan). (Standing Buddha (Tokyo National Museum) ).

All Buddhist traditions hold that a Buddha is fully awakened and has completely purified his mind of the three poisons of desire , aversion and ignorance . A Buddha is no longer bound by Samsara , and has ended the suffering which unawakened people experience in life.

Most schools of Buddhism
have also held that the Buddha was omniscient . However, the early texts contain explicit repudiations of making this claim of the Buddha.


Some Buddhists meditate on (or contemplate) the Buddha as having ten characteristics (Ch./Jp. 十號). These characteristics are frequently mentioned in the Pali Canon as well as Mahayana
teachings, and are chanted daily in many Buddhist monasteries:

* Thus gone, thus come (Skt: _tathāgata_) * Worthy one (Skt: _arhat_) * Perfectly self-enlightened (Skt: _samyak-saṃbuddha_) * Perfected in knowledge and conduct (Skt: _vidyā-caraṇa-saṃpanna_ ) * Well gone (Skt: _sugata_) * Knower of the world (Skt: _loka-vid_) * Unsurpassed (Skt: _anuttara_) * Leader of persons to be tamed (Skt: _puruṣa-damya-sārathi_) * Teacher of the gods and humans (Skt: _śāsta deva-manuṣyāṇaṃ_) * The Blessed One or fortunate one (Skt: _bhagavat_)

The tenth epithet is sometimes listed as "The World Honored Enlightened One" (Skt. _Buddha-Lokanatha_) or "The Blessed Enlightened One" (Skt. _Buddha-Bhagavan_).


Although the Theravada
school does not emphasize the more supernatural and divine aspects of the Buddha that are available in the Pali
Canon, elements of Buddha as the supreme person are found throughout this canon.

In the Pali Canon Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
is known as being a "teacher of the gods and humans", superior to both the gods and humans in the sense of having nirvana or the greatest bliss, whereas the devas , or gods, are still subject to anger, fear and sorrow.

In the Madhupindika Sutta (MN 18), Buddha is described in powerful terms as the Lord of the Dhamma (Pali: Dhammasami, skt.: Dharma
Swami) and the bestower of immortality (Pali: Amatassadata).

Similarly, in the Anuradha Sutta (SN 44.2) Buddha is described as

the Tathagata—the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment. , "And so, Anuradha—when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life—is it proper for you to declare, 'Friends, the Tathagata—the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment—being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does one who had grown up in the world but had now gone beyond it, as a lotus grows from the water but blossoms above it, unsoiled.

Andrew Skilton writes that the Buddha was never historically regarded by Buddhist traditions as being merely human:

It is important to stress that, despite modern Theravada
teachings to the contrary (often a sop to skeptical Western pupils), he was never seen as being merely human. For instance, he is often described as having the thirty-two major and eighty minor marks or signs of a _mahāpuruṣa_, "superman"; the Buddha himself denied that he was either a man or a god ; and in the _Mahāparinibbāna Sutta _ he states that he could live for an aeon were he asked to do so.

However, Thích Nhất Hạnh , a Vietnamese Buddhist monk in the Zen tradition, states that "Buddha was not a god. He was a human being like you and me, and he suffered just as we do."

Jack Maguire writes that Buddha is inspirational based on his humanness.

A fundamental part of Buddhism's appeal to billions of people over the past two and a half millennia is the fact that the central figure, commonly referred to by the title "Buddha", was not a god, or a special kind of spiritual being, or even a prophet or an emissary of one. On the contrary, he was a human being like the rest of us who quite simply woke up to full aliveness.


In the early Buddhist schools, the Mahāsāṃghika branch regarded the buddhas as being characterized primarily by their supramundane nature. The Mahāsāṃghikas advocated the transcendental and supramundane nature of the buddhas and bodhisattvas, and the fallibility of arhats. Of the 48 special theses attributed by the _Samayabhedoparacanacakra_ to the Mahāsāṃghika Ekavyāvahārika
, Lokottaravāda , and the Gokulika , 20 points concern the supramundane nature of buddhas and bodhisattvas. According to the _Samayabhedoparacanacakra_, these four groups held that the Buddha is able to know all _dharmas _ in a single moment of the mind. Yao Zhihua writes:

In their view, the Buddha is equipped with the following supernatural qualities: transcendence (_lokottara_), lack of defilements, all of his utterances preaching his teaching , expounding all his teachings in a single utterance, all of his sayings being true, his physical body being limitless, his power (_prabhāva_) being limitless, the length of his life being limitless, never tiring of enlightening sentient beings and awakening pure faith in them, having no sleep or dreams, no pause in answering a question, and always in meditation (_samādhi _).

A doctrine ascribed to the Mahāsāṃghikas is, "The power of the tathāgatas is unlimited, and the life of the buddhas is unlimited." According to Guang Xing, two main aspects of the Buddha can be seen in Mahāsāṃghika teachings: the true Buddha who is omniscient and omnipotent, and the manifested forms through which he liberates sentient beings through skillful means. For the Mahāsaṃghikas, the historical Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
was one of these transformation bodies (Skt. _nirmāṇakāya _), while the essential real Buddha is equated with the Dharmakāya .

As in Mahāyāna traditions, the Mahāsāṃghikas held the doctrine of the existence of many contemporaneous buddhas throughout the ten directions. In the Mahāsāṃghika _Lokānuvartana Sūtra_, it is stated, "The Buddha knows all the dharmas of the countless buddhas of the ten directions." It is also stated, "All buddhas have one body, the body of the Dharma." The concept of many bodhisattvas simultaneously working toward buddhahood is also found among the Mahāsāṃghika tradition, and further evidence of this is given in the _Samayabhedoparacanacakra_, which describes the doctrines of the Mahāsāṃghikas. A statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Tawang Gompa
, India


Main article: Buddharupa Buddha statues at Shwedagon Paya

Buddhas are frequently represented in the form of statues and paintings. Commonly seen designs include:

* The Seated Buddha * The Reclining Buddha * The Standing Buddha * _Hotei_ or _ Budai
_, the obese Laughing Buddha, usually seen in China
(This figure is believed to be a representation of a medieval Chinese monk who is associated with Maitreya
, the future Buddha, and is therefore technically not a Buddha image.) * the Emaciated Buddha, which shows Siddhartha Gautama during his extreme ascetic practice of starvation.

The Buddha statue shown calling for rain is a pose common in Laos .


Most depictions of Buddha contain a certain number of _markings_, which are considered the signs of his enlightenment. These signs vary regionally, but two are common:

* a protuberance on the top of the head (denoting superb mental acuity) * long earlobes (denoting superb perception)

In the Pali Canon there is frequent mention of a list of 32 physical marks of Buddha .


The poses and hand-gestures of these statues, known respectively as asanas and mudras , are significant to their overall meaning. The popularity of any particular mudra or asana tends to be region-specific, such as the _ Vajra
_ (or _Chi Ken-in_) mudra, which is popular in Japan
and Korea but rarely seen in India
. Others are more common; for example, the _Varada_ (Wish Granting) mudra is common among standing statues of the Buddha, particularly when coupled with the _Abhaya_ (Fearlessness and Protection) mudra.


in his Acts of the Buddha gives a long list of names for the Buddha:

Buddha, Self-existent, Lord of Law (Dharmaraja), Nayaka, Vinayaka, Caravan Leader, Jina (Victorious One), the Master-giver of Dharma, The Teacher, Master of the Dharma, the Lord of the World, the consoler, the loving-regarder the Hero, the champion, the victorious one in conflict, Light of the World, Illuminator of the Knowledge of True Wisdom, The dispeller of the darkness of ignorance, Illuminator of the Great Torch, Great Physician, Great Seer, the Healer, Attainer of the Great Vehicle (Mahayana), Lord of all Dharma, the Ruler, Monarch of All Worlds, the Sovereign, Lord of all wisdom, the wise, the destroyer of the pride of all disputers, the omniscient, the Arhat, Possessor of Perfect Knowledge, the Great Buddha, Lord of Saints, The Victorious, the Perfect Buddha, Sugata, the wise one who fulfills the wishes of all beings, The ruler of the world, bearer of the world, master of the world, sovereign of the world, teacher of the world, preceptor of the world, The Fount of Nectar, the powerful luminary, Bringer of all virtue and all real wealth, possessor of perfect excellence and all good qualities, the guide on the road of wisdom who shows the way to Nirvana, Tathagata without stain, without attachment, without uncertainty.

In his commentary to the Surangama Sutra , Venerable Master Hsuan Hua tells the following fable:

Originally every Buddha had ten thousand names. In time these ten thousand names were reduced to one thousand because people got confused trying to remember them all. For a while every Buddha had a thousand names, but people still couldn’t remember so many, so they were again reduced to one hundred names. Every Buddha had a hundred different names and living beings had a hard time remembering them, so they were shortened again to ten.


* Amitabha Buddha * Buddha-nature * Dona-sutta * Enlightenment in Buddhism
* Eternal Buddha
Eternal Buddha
* Five Dhyani Buddhas * Fourteen unanswerable questions * Gautama Buddha
Gautama Buddha
* Indonesian Buddhism
* List of Buddha claimants * List of the 28 Buddhas * Mahaparinirvana Sutra * Maitreya
Buddha * Mankiala stupa
Mankiala stupa
* Thirty-two marks of the Buddha * Vairocana



* ^ buddhatva, बुद्धत्व. Spoken Sanskrit Dictionary. (accessed: January 10, 2016) * ^ _A_ _B_ Gethin, Rupert (1998). _The foundations of Buddhism_ (1. publ. paperback ed.). Oxford : Oxford University Press. pp. 224–234. ISBN 0-19-289223-1 . * ^ Snelling, John (1987), _The Buddhist handbook. A Complete Guide to Buddhist Teaching and Practice_. London: Century Paperbacks. Page 81 * ^ _Udana Commentary_. Translation Peter Masefield, volume I, 1994. Pali
Text Society. page 94. * ^ Gethin, Rupert (1998). _The foundations of Buddhism_ (1. publ. paperback ed.). Oxford : Oxford University Press. p. 32. ISBN 0-19-289223-1 . * ^ Damien Keown; Charles S. Prebish (2013). _Encyclopedia of Buddhism_. Routledge. p. 90. ISBN 978-1-136-98588-1 . * ^ Rinpoche
Karma-raṅ-byuṅ-kun-khyab-phrin-las (1986). _The Dharma: That Illuminates All Beings Impartially Like the Light of the Sun and Moon_. State University of New York Press. pp. 32–33. ISBN 978-0-88706-156-1 . ; Quote: "There are various ways of examining the Complete Path. For example, we can speak of Five Paths constituting its different levels: the Path of Accumulation, the Path of Application, the Path of Seeing, the Path of Meditation and the Path of No More Learning, or Buddhahood." * ^ Robert E. Buswell; Robert M. Gimello (1990). _Paths to liberation: the Mārga and its transformations in Buddhist thought_. University of Hawaii Press. p. 204. ISBN 978-0-8248-1253-9 . * ^ A. K. Warder , _Indian Buddhism._ Third edition published by Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 2000, pages 132–133. * ^ David J. Kalupahana , _A History of Buddhist Philosophy: Continuities and Discontinuities._ University of Hawaii Press, 1992, page 43: . * ^ Japanese-English Buddhist Dictionary (Daitō shuppansha) 147a/163 * ^ , also see Thomas Cleary and J. C. Cleary _The Blue Cliff Record_, page 553. * ^ Majhima Nikaya 18 Madhupindika Sutta: The Ball of Honey * ^ Sutta Nikaya 44.2 Anuradha Sutta: To Anuradha * ^ Sutta Nikaya 22.87 Vakkali Sutta: Vakkali * ^ Dhammika, Shravasti (2005). _The Buddha and His Disciples_. Buddhist Publication Society. p. 16. ISBN 9789552402807 . * ^ Sangharakshita (1996). _A Guide to the Buddhist Path_. Windhorse Publications. p. 45. ISBN 9781899579044 . * ^ Peter Harvey, _An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History, and Practices._ Cambridge University Press, 1990, page 28 * ^ Skilton, Andrew. _A Concise History of Buddhism._ 2004. pp. 64-65 * ^ Nhất Hạnh, Thích (1999). _The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching_. Broadway Books . p. 3. ISBN 0-7679-0369-2 . * ^ Maguire, Jack (2013). _Essential Buddhism_. Simon & Schuster . p. 2. ISBN 9781476761961 . * ^ Baruah, Bibhuti. _Buddhist Sects and Sectarianism._ 2008. p. 48. * ^ Sree Padma. Barber, Anthony W. _ Buddhism
in the Krishna River Valley of Andhra._ 2008. p. 56. * ^ _A_ _B_ Yao, Zhihua. _The Buddhist Theory of Self-Cognition._ 2005. p. 11 * ^ Tanaka, Kenneth. _The Dawn of Chinese Pure Land Buddhist Doctrine._ 1990. p. 8 * ^ Guang Xing. _The Concept of the Buddha: Its Evolution from Early Buddhism
to the Trikaya Theory._ 2004. p. 53 * ^ Sree Padma. Barber, Anthony W. _ Buddhism
in the Krishna River Valley of Andhra._ 2008. pp. 59-60 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Guang Xing. _The Concept of the Buddha: Its Evolution from Early Buddhism
to the Trikaya Theory._ 2004. p. 65 * ^ Guang Xing. _The Concept of the Buddha: Its Evolution from Early Buddhism
to the Trikaya Theory._ 2004. p. 66 * ^ E. B. Cowell ; Francis A. Davis (1894). _Buddhist Mahayana Texts_. 49. Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
. p. 183. ISBN 0486255522 . Retrieved 3 September 2015. The Buddha-karita of Asvaghosha , translated from the Sanskrit_, in the_ Sacred Books of the East * ^ From the Chapter on "The General Explanation of the Title", _The Surangama Sutra_, English translation by the Buddhist Text Translation Society.


* _What the Buddha Taught_ (Grove Press, Revised edition July 1974), by Walpola Rahula * _Buddha: The Compassionate Teacher_ (2002), by K. M. M. Swe


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