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What Does Buddha Mean? A Guide To Personal Awakening

by Shannon Terrell September 8, 2020

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 ‘Buddha‘ means ‘enlightened one‘, anyone can become Buddha under the right circumstancesYes, 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 the word Buddha, one of the figures that likely springs to mind is that of The Buddha.

Siddhārtha Gautama, or Gautama Buddha, was the founder of Buddhism. Born in Lumbini, Nepal between 563 – 480 BCE. Siddhārtha 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.

 So, anyone who is able to see the world as it is, without obstacles of judgment and bias, can be a Buddha.

What are the 3 main beliefs of Buddhism?

  1. Dukkha: Life is painful and causes suffering
  2. Anitya: Life is in constant flux
  3. Anatma: The self is always changing

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. It is instead a statue of a historical Buddhist monk called Budai, or Pu-Tai.

He 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 and became a symbol of abundance, prosperity, and good fortune.

Is Having A Buddha Good Luck?

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.

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