Lion's Roar

LOTS OF BUDDHAS

In Sanskrit, the word buddha can mean “awakened,” “expanded,” and “understood.” It was the title bestowed on an itinerant teacher about whom little is known, apart from the teachings that have been attributed to him.

The Buddha first appears in the rock edicts of Emperor Ashoka, who ruled India from 268 to 232 BCE. For Buddhists over the centuries, across Asia and now the world, he was a person who set out long ago, as a —a person intent on enlightenment—in search of a state beyond sorrow, a state of liberation from birth and death that he called nirvana. Finding it, and thus achieving buddhahood at the age of thirty-five, he spent the remaining years of his life teaching that path to others and establishing a community of monks and nuns who dedicate their lives to his teaching. That teaching is called the and that community is.

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