In Buddhism, Buddha (; Sanskrit: बुद्ध), "awakened one," is a title for someone who is awake, and has attained nirvana and Buddhahood. The title is most commonly used for Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, who is often simply known as "the Buddha". However, the title can also be used for others who have achieved enlightenment, such as the other human Buddhas who achieved enlightenment before Gautama, the five celestial Buddhas worshipped primarily by Vajrayana followers, and the bodhisattva named Maitreya, who will achieve enlightenment in the future and succeed Gautama Buddha as the supreme Buddha of the world.List of the named Buddhas
In countries where Theravāda Buddhism is practiced by the majority of people, such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, it is customary for Buddhists to hold elaborate festivals, especially during the fair weather season, paying homage to the 25 Buddhas described in the Buddhavamsa. The Buddhavamsa is a text which describes the life of Gautama Buddha and the 24 Buddhas who preceded him. The Buddhavamsa is part of the Khuddaka Nikāya, which in turn is part of the Sutta Piṭaka. The Sutta Piṭaka is one of three main sections of the Pāli Canon of Theravāda Buddhism.
The first three of these Buddhas—Taṇhaṅkara, Medhaṅkara, and Saraṇaṅkara—lived before the time of Dīpankara Buddha. The fourth Buddha, Dīpankara, is especially important, as he was the Buddha who gave niyatha vivarana (prediction of future Buddhahood) to the Brahmin youth who would in the distant future become the bodhisattva Gautama Buddha. After Dīpankara, 23 more noble people (ariya-puggala) would attain enlightenment before Gautama, the historical Buddha.
Many Buddhists also pay homage to the future (and 29th) Buddha, Maitreya. According to Buddhist scripture, Maitreya will be a successor of Gautama who will appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure Dharma. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya is found in the canonical literature of all Buddhist sects (Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana), and is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an event that will take place when the Dharma will have been forgotten on Jambudvipa (the terrestrial realm, where ordinary human beings live).Outline of Buddhism
Buddhism (Pali/Sanskrit: बौद्ध धर्म Buddha Dharma) is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha, "the awakened one".
The following outline is provided as an overview of, and topical guide to, Buddhism.
Topics in Buddhism