“Anyone who is peaceful, loving and understanding can be called a buddha,” notes Thich Nhat Hanh. ‘There were many buddhas in the past, there are buddhas in the present moment, and there will be many buddhas in the future. Buddha is not the name of a particular person; buddha is just a common name to designate anyone who has a high degree of peace and who has a high degree of understanding and compassion. All of us are capable of being called by this name,” he explains.
The presence of a buddha often depends on cultural, social and religions conditions. Zen master Shunryu Suzuki said: “The Buddha was great because the people were great. When the people are not ready there will be no Buddha.”