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Muni , the founder of the , gave up his worldly life to find a solution to the causes of – to attain – for the sake of all sentient beings. Buddha personifies the ultimate level of and .

Both his achievement of transcendence and his humanness – for he is often portrayed as a teacher – must be served in creating his image. Generally, the Buddha is represented as an idealized , with a set of distinguishing marks that designate his celestial statuses, such as a cranial bump and a conspicuous dot in the middle of his forehead.

In the form of , Buddha’s transcendence is marked by him having three different bodies instead of just one: one that embraces the reality of this world, another that rejoices in what can be conceived as heavenly of bliss, and finally an encompassing -state beyond human conception and coterminous with the entire , a body synonymous with the ultimate reality itself.

Buddha is neither a creator nor a , but one whose example offers the path towards self-realization, a path predicated upon the believer’s capacity to overcome ego and cravings. Central to Buddha’s message is the gaining of wisdom, which consists of a limitless compassion for others as well as the ability to move towards an ultimate goal of from , craving, and delusion.

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