Who is Buddha?Answer:by: Venerable Nicolas Thanissaro
'Buddha' is an Indian word meaning 'awakened one' or 'joyous one'. It is a title Buddhists call an Indian prince Siddhartha Gautama who lived about 2,500 years ago. This prince left his royal life to become a monk and eventually, by practising meditation to the degree he was willing to lay down his life for it, reached spiritual enlightenment. It is because of this enlightenment that he is called 'Buddha'. In the 45 years between his enlightenment and his death, he used the knowledge he gained from his enlightenment to instruct others to become enlightened in his footsteps - and the tradition he founded has come to be known as 'Buddhism' in the present day - a religion that is practiced by 300 million people worldwide. In the world, there are a lot of people who claim to be spiritual leaders or prophets. The Buddha was however, the only founder of a spiritual tradition which teaches a way people can practise for spiritual salvation without relying on a supernatural power outside themselves. The Buddha claimed neither to be a god nor the earthly ambassador to one. In brief he was the discoverer of the only god-independent pathway of spiritual salvation known to man.