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The Buddha is the enlightened one who authored the Dharma or law of nature. His enlightenment is realizing perfect knowledge of nature.
At the age of 29, the Buddha, whose original name was Prince Siddhārthat, left his palace and lived as an ascetic in the forest.
He spent six years to find his way—to seek the path to enlightenment, becoming the Buddha—finally achieving it. In Pali, the Buddha means “the one who is enlightened.” He also is without lust or passion.
At the stage of enlightenment, the Buddha has reached three understandings as follows:
Firstly, he can remember his own past lives and that of all beings. This means that he knows who he was and who were all others who were in the past.
Secondly, he can see the next lives of creatures. This means that he knows which creatures will be reborn after they have died.
Thirdly, he has found the Four Noble Truths: the truth of suffering in life, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the cessation of suffering.
The path that leads to the cessation of suffering calls for the noble eightfold path: right understanding, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
Only the Buddha can comprehend these three senses or knowledge by himself.
The Dharma already was; it was not created by the Buddha. He is the finder of the Dharma, not its creator.
“The Knowledge of the Buddha is infinite.” In addition to the Buddha’s stages of enlightenment, Buddhist theory says that space and creatures also are infinite. Space does not have boundary. Creatures in the universe cannot be counted. The Buddha’s enlightenment has no limitation.
The Buddha compared what he had demonstrated to a few leaves in his hand, but that what he had not demonstrated to the uncountable leaves of a forest.
Why did the Buddha not teach us all he knew? Because what he knew is infinite, unlimited. One other reason why he did not tell more is because this knowledge was going to be unnecessary to human beings. He taught only lessons that human beings can apply to bring happiness and peace, and to eventually find the path to cease suffering.
The Buddha spent 45 years spreading the Dharma. At the age of 80, he passed away and entered Nirvana. The Buddha’s entering Nirvana meant no rebirth, no next life: No life, no suffering.
After the Buddha had passed away, his apostles compiled his teachings into the Tripiṭaka, that is, three pitaka or sections containing 110 books.