An Introduction toBuddhism First of three Jewels: The Buddha
Any faithful initiate into the religion of Buddhism must make a vow to take refuge in the 3 Jewels: 1) The Buddha, 2) The Dharma (teachings), and 3) the Sangha (Order of disciples)
In following the 3 Jewels, each dedicate to follow the path of the Buddha towards Enlightenment.
First of Three Jewels: The Buddha
“You must strive for yourselves. The Tathagatas are only your guides. Meditative persons who follow their path will overcome the bonds of Mara [death]”
–Dammapada, no. 276
Buddha (means ‘the Enlightened One’)
Historical Buddha: Born c. 563 B.C.E., died c. 483 B.C.E; age 31, became enlightened (became a non-returner, never to be reborn again); Next 45/49 years went around teaching that all worldly things (humans and consciousness as such) are passing phenomena caught up in a process of arising and passing away. His religious disciples will continue the religious order of Buddhism, known as sangha
Other names of the Buddha:
Siddhartha Gautama/Gotama, b. 563/0 B.C.E.
Shakyamuni (sage of the Shakya clan): Chinese use this term a lot
Tathagata, a title of the Buddha meaning “one who has thus gone”
Four Passing Sights and the Great Renunciation: Gautama, age 29, sneaks out from royal palace with horse Kanthaka and goes for a chariot ride. Sees 4 signs: a sick man; an old (suffering) man; a dead man; A monk, whose calmness suggests a way to eliminate suffering
He renounces the worldly life of riches, leaves his family to lead a life of an ascetic and wandering student of yoga (images depict him as emaciated from 6 years of fasting)
Avalokiteshvara (chenrig) is supposed to be the seventy-fourth (74th) manifestation within the
lineage tracing back to the Brahmin boy, Siddhartha. Because Avalokiteshvara is a celestial bodhisattva, he can be experienced in the form of the current Dalai Lama in his Nirmakaya form, or in his spiritual form-body through meditation in the Sambhogakaya.
There are also “lamas,” who are Tibetan teachers and are of a lower status than tulkus.