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How do we as a human need to approach Lord Buddha. A) As God, B) as a Teacher, C) As a lamp who gives light to shine on understand the Dharma and follow his principles by realizing it?
Shakyamuni Buddha, who lived 2,600 years ago, was once an ordinary being just like us. Born to a wealthy Indian family, he had every luxury available to him, yet still experienced duhkha or dissatisfaction. By determinedly developing his good qualities like love, compassion and wisdom, and by purifying his mind of all defilements, he became fully awakened, an enlightened being, an omniscient one — a Buddha. From his awakened state, he taught the methods that freed his mind to anyone who was interested, regardless of caste, race, religion or gender.
The Buddha did not create the world or the sentient beings in it, nor did he create saṃsāra, the law of karma and its effects, or the path to awakening. Rather, he described all these from his own experience, and in the process showed us the path to free ourselves from suffering and the existence of the awakened state that we, too, can attain it. Therefore, Shakyamuni Buddha is definitely a Teacher and a lamp who gives light that illuminates the Dharma, but within the Buddhist tradition he is not considered a God.
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