The Buddha Lives in those who practises the Dharma

by Thich Nhat Hanh, The Times of India, Sept 7, 2007

New Delhi, India -- I would like to talk to you a little bit about the Buddha, about who he is. First, the Buddha is not a god, he is a human being like us. This is very important to know. The Buddha does not claim to be a god, a creator of the universe. He is a human being like us.

As a young person, the Buddha suffered like us, but because of his practice, he could transform his suffering, he could develop his understanding and his love, and he became a wonderful teacher. The best way to see the Buddha is to see him as a teacher, a big brother.

At the age of 80, he died. But that was not the end because he had taught many disciples, monks, nuns and lay friends. These people have also practised like him, they have also been able to transform a lot of their suffering, and cultivated love, and understanding, so they are like the continuation of the Buddha.

We have accepted the Buddha as our teacher, we follow his way of practice, so that we can transform our suffering, cultivate our love, our understanding. So we are also the continuation of the Buddha. I'm proud to be a continuation of the Buddha, because I am doing what he did during his life: transforming suffering, cultivating love and understanding.

When you look into me you can see the Buddha in me. But when you look into yourself, you see that you are a continuation of the Buddha also, because you are determined and you have accepted the Buddha as your teacher.

We learn the Buddha's way to transform your suffering, to overcome it, and to cultivate more love, compassion, understanding and insight, so that we become happier, so that we become more capable to help people around us to suffer less and to be happy.

The Buddha never died. He has continued for 2,600 years, and now we are his continuation. Buddha means the one who is awakened, and we are cultivating awakening, so we are the continuation of the Buddha. And we should be proud of this. You can be a continuation of the Buddha even if you are still very young. If you know a little bit about how to transform your suffering, how to be more loving and understanding, you are doing the work of the Buddha.

There are at least two bodies of the Buddha. Recognise the dharma body. The physical body of the Buddha only lasted for 80 years. But his dharma body may last a very long time. It depends on us whether the dharma body lasts long or not.

The way to develop compassion and love, the way to look deeply in order to understand better, deeper, that is the dharma, and the Buddha did not do anything except show the dharma, transfer it to the next generation. It's a very nice thing to do because the dharma helps. And as you receive the dharma body into yourself, the dharma helps you to suffer less, to be happier, to be more compassionate, and then you also have a dharma body, and your dharma body is the continuation of the Buddha's dharma body.

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