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In Buddhism, Buddha (/ /,; Pali, Sanskrit: 𑀩𑀼𑀤𑁆𑀥, बुद्ध), "awakened one", is a title for those who are spiritually awake or enlightened, and have thus attained the supreme religious goal of Buddhism, variously described as nirvana, awakening (bodhi) and liberation (vimutti). A Buddha is also someone who has fully understood the Dharma (Sanskrit 𑀥𑀭𑁆𑀫; Pali dhamma), the true nature of things or the universal law. Buddhahood (Sanskrit: 𑀩𑀼𑀤𑁆𑀥𑀢𑁆𑀯, buddhatva; Pali: buddhatta or buddhabhāva; Chinese: 成佛) is the condition and state of a buddha. This highest spiritual state of being is also termed sammā-sambodhi (skt. samyaksaṃbodhi 'full complete awakening'). This state is interpreted in many different ways in the various schools of Buddhism.
The title of "Buddha" is most commonly used for Gautama Buddha, the historical founder of Buddhism, who is often simply known as "the Buddha". The title is also used for other beings who have achieved awakening and vimoksha (liberation), such as the other human Buddhas who achieved enlightenment before Gautama, the five celestial Buddhas worshiped primarily in Mahayana (such as Amitabha), and the bodhisattva Maitreya (known as the Buddha of the future), who will attain awakening at a future time, and succeed Gautama Buddha as the supreme Buddha of the world.
The goal of Mahayana's bodhisattva path is complete Buddhahood, so that one may benefit all sentient beings by teaching them the path of cessation of dukkha. Mahayana theory contrasts this with the goal of the Theravada path, where the most common goal is individual arhatship, by following dharma; the teachings of the supreme Buddha.
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