about buddha
Omniscient being who has achieved enlightenment or nirvana

Buddha generally means 'Awakened Being', the being who has awakened from the sleep of ignorance, has attained nirvana and perceives things as they are. A Buddha is a person who has freed himself from all mental faults and obstructions and has attained nirvana or enlightenment. Many beings have become Buddhas in the past and many more will in the future.

The Buddhas help sentient beings in two ways: by imparting teachings and by blessing their minds. Without the blessings of the Buddhas it is impossible to generate a virtuous mind.

There is nothing that Buddha does not know. Because he woke up from the sleep of ignorance and removed all obstructions from his mind, he knows everything that exists in the past, present and future directly and simultaneously.

Some of the Buddhas who have achieved enlightenment or nirvana are: Shakyamuni Buddha, Amitaba, Avalokiteshvara, Tara, Green Tara, White Tara, Maitreya, Manjushri, Je Tsongkhapa, Dorje Shugden, and many more.

Who was Shakyamuni Buddha?

The Buddha who founded the current Buddhist religion is called Shakyamuni Buddha. Shakya is the name of the royal family he was born into and muni means 'Fit One'. Shakyamuni Buddha was born in 624 BC. C. Prince Siddhartha took every opportunity to reveal the meaning of the Dharma and encouraged his companions to follow the spiritual path. From time to time, he traveled to the capital of the kingdom to observe how his subjects lived. During these visits he saw the elderly, the sick and, on one occasion, a dead body.

Seeing how all beings are trapped in this vicious cycle of suffering, he felt deep compassion for them and generated a sincere desire to free them from their pain.

Since he knew that only a Buddha, a fully enlightened being, possesses the wisdom and power to help all beings, he decided to retire to a forest to practice meditation alone and attain the state of Buddhahood, enlightenment, or nirvana.

Forty-nine days after he attained enlightenment, he received requests to give teachings. In response to these supplications, the Buddha emerged from his stabilized meditation and turned the wheel of Dharma for the first time.

These teachings, which include the Four Noble Truths Sutra and other discourses, constitute the main source of Hinayana Buddhism, or lesser vehicle. Later, the Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma a second and third time, teaching the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra and the Discerning Intention Sutra, respectively. These instructions are the source of Mahayana Buddhism or the Great Vehicle.

In the Hinayana teachings, the Buddha shows us how to achieve self-liberation from suffering, and in the Mahayana, how to attain full enlightenment or Buddhahood for the benefit of all beings. Both traditions flourished in Asia, at first in India and later in other countries, including Tibet. Today, they begin to flourish in the West.

comillasJust as the moon does not have the need to generate the intention to reflect itself in the water, the Buddhas can manifest before us effortlessly. When we imagine the Buddhas in space before us, our mind is like the lake reflecting the moonlight on a clear night, and the Buddhas appear before us effortlessly.

Ven. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche