The Problem With Buddhahood.

Although my sprituality has much in common with Buddhism in many ways, the prime focus is not the attainment of a state of Buddhahood. Enlightenment is possible, however it is necessary to put to prospect of becoming a Buddha aside. All titles are essentially man-made and also come with baggage. In this case, the baggage is the expectations of those who believe in the title and what it means to them.

The simplest definition of Buddha is, “awakened one”, and if the meaning were really that simple we could all become Buddhas with no problem. Unfortunately, what an awakened one is in Buddhism is already defined and expected of anyone seeking this title.

I have studied enough Buddhism that I have learned quite well what is expected of a Buddha in this day and age. And it’s no easy task. To hold the title Buddha:

You must be worthy of respect to all those who would see you as Buddha.

You must achieve and master perfect enlightenment (Buddhist omniscience).

You must come from absolute truth, teach it to others, and return to absolute truth.

You must be perfect in knowledge and conduct.

You must have complete understanding of the world.

You must be unsurpassed, matchless among all beings.

You must be a controller of all humans; able to direct the training of all those who possess Buddha-nature.

You must be a teacher of humans, and Gods.(Somehow, despite there being no God, you’ll have to come up with some to teach.)

You must be World-honored; possess auspicious virtue.

You must have the “Ten” Powers of the Buddha: to distinguish right and wrong in every situation, know the karmic relations of all acts, comprehend all stages of meditation, achieved emancipation (Nirvana), perfect concentration, able to judge the superiority and inferiority of all sentient beings, know the inclinations and motivations of all sentient beings, know the differences in faculties and conditions of all sentient beings, know all the paths that sentient beings will follow whatever stage of their practice, know all former existences of oneself and others, know the future existences of oneself and others, and know one’s own enlightnnment and the eradication of all hindrances of defilements.

You must have the Four Kinds of Fearlessness: supreme self confidence and assurance in addressing person or topic. no fear or hesitation when dealing with criticism or censure, confidence that you have rid yourself of all defilements and delusions, and confidence in your ability to teach the dharma.

You must possess The Three Types of Equanimity: proper mindfulness in all situations, possess farseeing wisdom, and do not rejoice in veneration nor grieve over slander.

You must exhibit Great Compassion, your mind must be one of constant benevolence.

You must possess The Eighteen Unique Virtues: morality, attain Nirvana without fixed abode; perfection of action, speech and thought; impartiality toward all sentient beings; elimination of distraction and mental instability in sentient beings; and omniscience whereby nothing is forgotten or ignored;  belief in your Nirvana as pure and uncorruptible; unflagging resolution; constant effort in every situation; unfailing wisdom;constancy in emancipation without fixed abode; actions speech and thought constantly reveal his perfect wisdom; perfect knowledge of all things past, present and future; detached and unhindered wisdom.

Finally, you must have truly departed for the Other Shore of Enlightenment (Nirvana) and will never fall back into sea of birth and death.

How could such a being have ever existed? Was there ever a Buddha to begin with? With such strict guidelines, how could Buddha be Buddha?

Furthermore, Buddhism has very specific prophecies that the new Buddha, Maitreya, must fulfill in order to be acknowledged as Buddha. Sadly, these prophecies are so specific, that the Buddha himself could not have free will and still be acknowledged as Buddha. For traditional Buddhists, the future is set in stone. Which is strange to me, because the main Universal Truth one must acknowledge as a Buddhist is the law of impermanence. If the future is unchangeable and has been prophecized for thousands of years, impermanence must then be a lie.


In my opinion, it’s better to put unreasonable expectations and superfluous titles aside.