When you hear the word Buddha, what comes to mind? Do you think of Buddhism? Meditation? Monks in red robes?
Many of us have encountered the word before, but what does Buddha mean?
As it turns out, the word Buddha is a pretty versatile one. We’re going to explore what this word means, who the Buddha was, and how someone can become a Buddha.
What’s The Definition Of Buddha?
If you’re looking to learn more about how to practice Buddhism, understanding the basics is a great place to start.
But first, what does ‘Buddha‘ mean? The word ‘Buddha’ is Sanskrit and means, ‘enlightened one.’
A Buddha is a person who sees the world as it is without bias or clouded perception. They have reached a state of enlightened understanding. With this understanding, they become free from human suffering and break the cycle of death and rebirth.
Because the word ‘Buddha‘ means ‘enlightened one‘, anyone can become Buddha under the right circumstances. Yes, even you!
Now, don’t get us wrong. Becoming a Buddha is far from easy and it requires a lot of dedication. But anyone can become an enlightened one, no matter your age, gender, or spiritual beliefs.
Greater self-awareness is always a great first step. As Deborah King, Author of Mindvalley’s Be A Modern Master Program says, “all spiritual progress is born out of self-awareness.”
Who Was The Buddha?
When you think about ‘Buddha,’ you might think of The Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama.
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Born in Lumbini, Nepal between 563 – 480 BCE, Siddhārtha, or Gautama Buddha, was the founder of Buddhism. He was born a prince and lived a life of luxury for many years. He was married to a woman named Yasodhara and together they had a son.
It wasn’t until Siddhārtha was 29 years old that he decided to leave the palace in search of something more. He traveled the surrounding land and for the first time in his life, he was confronted with human suffering, sickness, and death.
How Siddhārtha Became The Buddha
Siddhārtha was heartbroken by the human suffering he encountered. He knew there must be a better way.
He left his royal responsibilities behind to study under the great aesthetics and sages of the age. For six years, he mastered meditation, yoga, and studied the mind. But Siddhārtha was not fully satisfied by the techniques of his gurus. He left them to meditate in isolation.
Underneath a Bodhi tree, he meditated for 49 days before he reached Enlightenment. It was at this time that Siddhārtha became the Buddha.
Siddhārtha established the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism and the Noble Eightfold Path that became the basics of Buddhism. He spent the rest of his life traveling in the Gangetic Plain, teaching all he met. He died at the age of 80 in Kushinagar, India.
What Does The Title “The Buddha” Mean?
Even though we often think of Siddhārtha when we hear this word, it’s important to know that he was not the only one who held this title.
Anyone who is able to see the world as it is, without obstacles of judgment and bias, can be a Buddha. That is the idea a Buddha stands for. Their belief is that morality, meditation, and wisdom will lead them to the path of enlightenment.
What Are The 3 Main Beliefs Of Buddhism?
The aim of The Buddha was to escape suffering and reach a level of enlightenment. Being a Buddha means breaking away from the cycle of rebirth and achieving nirvana — an eternal state of peace, happiness, and enlightenment — through meditation.
Here are three elements of The Noble Truths that you can incorporate every day into your life:
Dukkha: Life is painful and causes suffering. There are parts of life that inevitable, such as death, aging, sickness, suffering, and loss. But it doesn’t that it’s bad. Practice letting go of the belief that life is easy and pain-free, and the idea that you’re imperfect and broken — a misconception made common by industries like fashion, beauty, and big pharma’s. Instead, open your heart to whatever life has to offer.
Anitya: Life is in constant flux. The world is constantly evolving. No moment is the same. So, embrace the idea of change. Even though the idea of uncertainty may seem scary, it helps you appreciate everything and everyone around you.
Anatma: The self is always changing. You are also ever-evolving. So, focus on the person you want to be and the life you want to live, instead of ‘finding yourself.’
Is Having A Buddha Good Luck?
You’ve likely seen the Laughing Buddha before. According to Zen Buddhist traditions, having a statue of this little fellow is good luck.
The statue isn’t actually a depiction of Siddhārtha Gautama, but instead, a statue of a historical Buddhist monk called Budai, or Pu-Tai.
Budai belongs to the Japanese Buddhist pantheon and became famous for his happy-go-lucky personality and the cloth sack he carried as he wandered the land.
Over time, Budai became known as the Laughing Buddha. What does this Buddha mean? He became a symbol of abundance, prosperity, and good fortune.
5 Famous Buddha Quotes For Personal Awakening
While becoming a Buddha might not be at the top of your to-do list, you can choose to step a little closer to your personal bliss each and every day.
Here are five of the Buddha’s most famous quotes on ending suffering and achieving personal awakening:
“Irrigators channel waters; fletchers straighten arrows; carpenters bend wood; the wise master themselves.”
“Conquer anger with non-anger. Conquer meanness with generosity. And conquer dishonesty with truth.”
“There is no fear for one whose mind is not filled with desires.”
“Purity and impurity depend on oneself; no one can purify another.”
“When watching after yourself, you watch after others. When watching after others, you watch after yourself.”
So, which of these quotes speaks to you most? Tell us in the comments below.