Why Is Buddha Called the "Enlightened One"?

buddha-called-enlightened-one Credit: Cultura Travel/Lost Horizon Images/The Image Bank/Getty Images

"Buddha" is the term an individual receives when he or she fully comprehends the Four Noble Truths, sheds earthly ignorance and is fully awake, or enlightened. Buddhists do not believe a person is born a Buddha, but achieve it through his or her own spiritual work, and so becomes the "Enlightened One."

Every person aspiring to be a Buddha must go through the Bodhisattva period. According to the Buddhist beliefs, this period lasts for several lifetimes and, during that time, the aspiring Buddha goes through intensive spiritual exercises. He or she must develop the qualities of a Buddha to perfection before there is any hope of understanding the four noble truths. The qualities that aspiring Buddhas must master include generosity, discipline, renunciation, wisdom, benevolence and equanimity, to name a few.