Buddha, kesako?

- through Francois Leclercq

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Definition of an often misunderstood term.

If the name "Buddha" commonly designates an Indian monk of the XNUMXth-XNUMXth century, founder of what should be called Buddhism, it is not a proper name, nor moreover a a title, but a qualifier, an adjective formed from the verbal root "budh" which means to wake up, to be awake or to wake up. From this derive other related senses such as intelligence (buddhi) or awakening (bodhi).

The “Buddha” is therefore not so much the Awakened as “the one who is only Awakening”.

Buddha is thus “budh+ta”, that is to say the one who is qualified as “Awakened”. However, one could believe that under this qualification of Awakened is signified by a person that he possesses, among other qualities, the attribute of being awake. Only, in Sanskrit grammar, the addition of the suffix “-ta” to a verbal root gives it a particularly strong, almost absolute meaning, to the point of making it the only determination. Thus, to say of a being that he is a "buddha" does not amount to attributing a quality to him, but to saying of him that he is only this quality. In other words, the buddha is therefore not so much the Awakened as “the one who is only Awakening”. It is as if he were disappearing as a particular subject, about whom we can say this or that, to be nothing more than a radical, alert and open presence. He is not even the embodiment of this "presence", which is more of a Christian way of thinking because he is only presence.

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Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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