Becoming the “Buddha”: The Way of Meditation

According to tradition, SiddharthaSiddhartha Gautama, a prince of India in the 6th century BCE, came to be called the Buddha, the “awakened one,” after his enlightenment at the age of thirty-six. He spent the remainder of his life giving spiritual guidance to an ever-growing body of d... seated himself at the foot of a tree, which has since been called the BodhiThe Buddhist Sanskrit term bodhi means enlightenment or awakening. It is a direct awareness or realization of the changing and interdependent nature of reality which is accompanied by the elimination of the defilements and clinging that bind one to the su... Tree, the tree of enlightenmentEnlightenment means awakening to or realizing the true nature of reality. The term is used with various nuances in the Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu traditions to express the spiritual awakening that is the goal of religious life. “The Enlightenment” also.... He vowed to sit beneath that tree until he had attained deep insight into suffering. As he sat through the night, a profound stillness settled upon his mind, like that of a lake on a windless day. This stillness enabled him to see ever more deeply and clearly into the cycle of grasping, clinging, and egotism found at the root of suffering.

The demon Mara rose to tempt him and to attack him with arrows of passion. Desire, fear, pride, and thirst rose to challenge his clear concentration of mind. But Siddhartha placed his hand on the earth, calling earth itself to witness his firm resolve. When the morning star appeared, Siddhartha GautamaSiddhartha Gautama, a prince of India in the 6th century BCE, came to be called the Buddha, the “awakened one,” after his enlightenment at the age of thirty-six. He spent the remainder of his life giving spiritual guidance to an ever-growing body of d... became the BuddhaBuddha means “awakened one” and specifically refers to Shakyamuni Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama (traditional date, sixth c. BCE), the historical founder of the tradition that became known as Buddhism. All Buddhist traditions agree that ther..., literally the “Awakened One.” He had woken up to the nature of the changing world and the causes of suffering. This state of awakening was also called nirvanaIn religions of Indian origin, nirvana means “blowing out,” i.e. the cessation of greed, hate, delusion, attachment, and desire —all the fuel of rebirth. In Buddhist philosophy, it refers both to Truth of the “far shore,” and to th. state of gre..., literally the “blowing out” of the fires of ego-centered attachment which are the source of suffering.

Siddhartha is called Shakyamuni Buddha, the “Sage of the ShakyaShakya is the name of the clan into which the Buddha was born. Thus, he is sometimes referred to as “Shakyamuni Buddha” which can be translated as “Sage of the Shakya Clan.” clan” to make clear that this awakening is not uniquely his. Over time, there have been other individuals who have awakened to the truth and gained enlightenment, thereby becoming BuddhasBuddha means “awakened one” and specifically refers to Shakyamuni Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama (traditional date, sixth c. BCE), the historical founder of the tradition that became known as Buddhism. All Buddhist traditions agree that ther.... Among the most well known and widely venerated are AmitabhaAmitabha Buddha, called Emituofo in China and Amida in Japan, is the Buddha of “Infinite Light.” This Buddha is the main focus of devotion in the Pure Land school of Chinese Buddhism, and the Pure Land (Shin) and True Pure Land (Jodo Shinshu) schools ... (AmidaAmitabha Buddha, called Emituofo in China and Amida in Japan, is the Buddha of “Infinite Light.” This Buddha is the main focus of devotion in the Pure Land school of Chinese Buddhism, and the Pure Land (Shin) and True Pure Land (Jodo Shinshu) schools ...) Buddha, VairochanaVairochana, the “Resplendent One,” represents the eternal Dharma Body of whom Sakyamuni and all other Buddhas are transformations. His Pure Land is the Flower Store World, which is none other than the whole universe when experienced correctly. Althoug... Buddha, and Bhaishajya-guruBhaishajya-guru or the Medicine Buddha is the Buddha of the Eastern Pure Land of Azure Radiance, best known for his determination to heal those whose faculties are imperfect. By removing diseases and giving perfect health of body and mind, he vows to enab... (better known as the Medicine BuddhaBhaishajya-guru or the Medicine Buddha is the Buddha of the Eastern Pure Land of Azure Radiance, best known for his determination to heal those whose faculties are imperfect. By removing diseases and giving perfect health of body and mind, he vows to enab...). Indeed, sometimes Buddhas are depicted by the thousands, for the “Buddha nature” is the true awakened nature of all beings.

It is said that, out of great compassion, the newly enlightened Shakyamuni Buddha set out to show others the path he had followed so they might set foot on that path as well. After his awakening, the Buddha taught in the cities and villages of North India for some forty-five years.


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