Here is a story. After the Buddha was enlightened he was walking down the road in a very happy state. He was supposed to have been quite a handsome prince before going off to be a monk. So here’s this handsome prince now recently enlightened, wearing golden robes and obviously quite happy, and very special from all accounts. And he met some people and they said, “You seem very special. What are you, are some kind of an angel or a deva?” He seemed inhuman in some way. “No.” “Well, are you some kind of a god then?” “No.” “Well, then are you some kind of a wizard or magician?” “No,” he replied. “Well, are you a man?” “No,” he said. “Then what are you?” And he answered, “I am awake.”
And in those three words —“I am awake”— he gave the whole teaching which Buddhism contains. To be a Buddha is to be one who has awakened, awakened to the nature of life and death and the world in which we live, awakened to the body and mind. So the purpose of practicing meditation, the Buddhist and other traditions, is not to become a meditator, or a spiritual person, or a Buddhist, or to join something. Rather, it is to understand this capacity we have as humans to awaken.