How many Buddhas actually exist?
Of course you have heard of the Buddha or Buddha. Buddha literally means the awakened one. The most famous Buddha lived about 2500 years ago in the area that nowadays falls in northern India and Nepal. He was eighty years old.
Siddhartha Gautama, as he was first called, was a young prince and was raised in the protected environment of the royal palace. Siddhartha thus led a life of luxury and pleasure, but he was not happy. One day Siddhartha left the palace to go on an outing and he saw four men: an old man, a sick man, a dead man and an ascetic, who himself had nothing, but lived on food and money that was given to him.
Nevertheless, the ascetic looked happy. Siddhartha suddenly realized that nothing in life is stable and decided to follow the example of the ascetic. He left the palace that same evening to find redemption from suffering and the cycle of existence. He joined five ascetics who had secluded themselves in the wilderness. Siddhartha followed their example and surrendered to the most extreme form of asceticism. Six years later, when he was nearly starving, he realized that this was not the right way to achieve salvation. He therefore moved on and took food to regain strength. When he regained strength, he decided to meditate under a tree and not get away from under it until he had achieved salvation. On the forty-ninth day he gained insight into his past lives and certainty about the causes of human suffering and how that suffering can be removed. Because of this he was an awakened person, the Buddha and his name became Buddha Shakyamuni.
Buddha Shakyamuni is the Buddha of passing on the Dharma. The Dharma is the teachings of Buddha. The Dharma tells how you can achieve enlightenment and the four Noble Truths, namely:
- There is suffering;
- Suffering has a cause;
- It is possible to end the suffering;
- This ending of suffering can be achieved by following the Eightfold Path.
There are even more enlightened people. All Buddhas. All of these Buddhas each represent an aspect of the Buddha nature. Everyone has the Buddha nature in them. You can (re) discover it. You can also reach the lighting. There are a lot of Buddhas, of which there are also many statues and statuettes, all of which, as said, all represent an aspect of the enlightened mind. There are Buddhas born of meditation, such as the five Dhyani Buddhas. Other Buddhas originated from enlightenment during their lifetime, such as Milarepa and Tapihritsa. There are many aspects, a few are listed below:
the Blue Buddha, also called Medicine Buddha, Buddha Men Gyi Lama or Buddha Bhaisajyaguru, the Buddha of healing;
the Red Buddha, Buddha Amitabha or Buddha Amithayus, he represents the infinite light. Buddha Amitabha is one of the five Dhyani Buddhas, the Buddha in the west;
Amoghashiddi, one of the five Dhyani Buddhas: the Buddha in the North, stands for the completion of the Buddhist path and the destruction of the poison of envy;
Akshobhya, one of the five Dhyani Buddhas: the Buddha in the East;
Buddha Ratna Sambhava, or Ratnasambhava is one of the five Dhyani Buddhas of Vajrayana Buddhism. The mandalas and mantras of Ratnasambhava focus on developing equanimity and equality. The Buddha in the South, destroyer of greed and pride;
Buddha Vairochana, one of the five Dhyani Buddhas. He represents the middle in this. Vairochana is the Buddha of the past, so the predecessor of Buddha Shakyamuni, the Buddha of the present. Vairochana can be seen as Dharmakaya Buddha the Buddha of the sun;
Vajrasattva, the great purifier;
Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion. Protector for danger with the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum;
Adibuddha, the original Buddha that is without beginning and without end. He is eternal, self-created and shows himself in the form of a blue flame emerging from a lotus;
Green Tara, Green Tara (Chittamani Tara) is a feminine manifestation of enlightened energy;
White Tara, a Tara in Buddhism is a female deity of enlightening wisdom, White Tara of action;
Buddha Manjushri, in his masculine right hand, also called method hand, carries a sword that cuts through ignorance and at the same time brings light into the darkness like a torch. In his female left hand, or wisdom hand, he carries the book of transcendent wisdom;
Tapihritsa or Tapahritsa was a Bon practitioner who attained the Dzogchen control of the rainbow body;
Milarepa lived from 1052 – 1135 and was one of the most important Tibetan yogis and a student of Marpa. Milarepa studied twelve years with Marpa with great perseverance and achieved full enlightenment;
Maitreya Buddha, the future Buddha. Maitreya is a bodhisattva who, according to some Buddhists, will eventually be born on earth, achieve enlightenment, and teach a pure Dharma. Maitreya Bodhisattva becomes the successor of the current Buddha Shakyamuni.
Are you also enlightened?