The word buddha means ‘The Awakened One’, this refers to being awakened to the ultimate reality, to the true nature of the mind; being one who understands the world and all sentient beings without delusion, one who is perfect in wisdom and compassion. The Buddha is also sometimes called as the ‘Thus Come One’ or Tathagata, or the ‘World – Honored One’ or Bhagavat.
The Buddha is a historical being, and enjoys more evidence and historical facts than Jesus Christ that he actually existed. He is a Indian prince whose given name is Siddhartha. I will try to write more about Buddha extensively in future posts, but allow me to share briefly some of the highlights of his life now.
After years of diligent practice, Siddhartha, sitting under a Bodhi tree reach supreme enlightenment. Please note that the Bodhi tree was not called Bodhi tree then, it came after. When Siddhartha reached enlightenment, it is said that his very first words are, “Wonder of wonders! All sentient beings are inherently complete and perfect! But they do not realize it because of their delusions and cravings.”
When he reached enlightenment, he became known as Sakyamuni or Gautama Buddha. Gautama is from his name Siddharta Gautama, he then also embarked on an endless but untiring journey to teach living beings how to see the reality, how to gain true wisdom, and how to free themselves and attain true peace and joy.
Sakyamuni Buddha’s teachings are called Dharma.
Sakyamuni Buddha also gained several followers who renounced their home life to devote their lives to the practice of Dharma, and to teach other sentient beings. They formed the ordained community of Buddhist monks and nuns and is called as the Sangha.
Sangha means ‘harmony’ or ‘harmonious assembly’. They are responsible for preserving and propagating the Dharma.
Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are collectively called as the Three Jewels, because they are considered as the true treasures of the World.