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Buddhism 101 - Be a lamp upon yourself

The Buddha

Some common questions about the Buddha


What is Buddha?

The word "Buddha" means "The Awakened (or Enlightened) One". A Buddha was previously a human being, who had reached the highest peak of spiritual cultivation through purification and mastery of the mind, attaining the highest achievement possible by anyone. Having awakened to reality, He is one who has found True Happiness in realising the true nature of all things. With the attainment of Enlightenment (realisation of the Truth of all things), Wisdom and Compassion is perfected among other countless positive qualities. Having become a Buddha, one transcends the limitations of a human (and gender) and becomes much greater than a human, gaining ultimate peace and liberation.

Can I become a Buddha?

The potential of attaining Enlightenment or Buddhahood exists in each and every sentient being (including us). We all possess within ourselves the perfect goodness of Buddha-nature (potential for Buddhahood), which is like the bright full Moon. The path towards Enlightenment is the clearing of the dark clouds of defilements (negative qualities- chiefly Ignorance) that overshadow our Buddha-nature, to let it shine forth. There are already countless Buddhas in existence and there will be countless more as long as there are those earnest in seeking the Truth.

Who is the Buddha?

The Buddha is the greatest character that ever appeared in the history of Humankind - being an embodiment of the person perfect in thought, word and deed. He was the wisest and most loving being that ever graced the Earth, an example of how great we can all become. "The Buddha" refers to the historical Shakyamuni Buddha who lived in northern India more than 2,500 years ago (at about 563 B.C.). He is regarded as the founder of Buddhism for our world. He was a prince who had an entire kingdom of riches to inherit, who chose to renounce it at the age of 29 in search of Enlightenment (realisation of the Truth of all things and True Happiness) out of Compassion for all beings. After He attained Enlightenment at 35, He taught the Truth inspiringly and tirelessly for 45 years to all who were willing to learn from Him. He passed away into the deep peace of Parinirvana at 80.

What did the Buddha teach?

The Buddha’s message is a joyous one. He found the precious treasure of Freedom in the Truth and teaches us how to follow the way that leads us to this same treasure. Though He tells us that we are in deep darkness, He also teaches us the path that leads us to light. He wishes us to rise from a life of unreal dreams into a higher life of Wisdom where all love and do not hate. His appeal is universal, because He appeals to reason, and to the universal search for True Happiness in us. He put Truth to the crucial test of personal experience, encouraging everyone to doubt His teachings, believing that great realisations arise from clearing great doubts. He taught us to watch ourselves and become awake, to seek and to find True Happiness like He did.

How can the Buddha help me?

The Buddha is a spiritual genius as He reached the goal of the spiritual quest, Enlightenment by Himself. However, He could see that while we too can attain Enlightenment, we might need a lot of help. Out of Compassion, He devoted the rest of His life to being a guide to all who were willing to learn from Him, teaching all that had to be taught before passing away into everlasting bliss. He proved to be just as ingenious in showing us the path to True Happiness. As long as we keep our hearts and minds open, the Buddha still inspires us through His precious teachings.

Source: Phor Kark See web page, https://www.kmspks.org

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