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Tathagata

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Tathāgata (Sanskrit: "The thus-come one" or "The thus-gone one"; Chinese: 如來; Pinyin: R li) This is traditionally interpreted as "one who comes and goes in the same way (as the previous Buddhas)".

In this sense, Tathāgatha is generally identified as a synonym of Buddha, and is used either to refer to the historical Buddha, Gautama Buddha, or to the office of Buddha.

Tathāgatha is an important term in Mahāyāna, especially in terms of understanding the two types of lineage (textual transmission and realisation transmission) found in the Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna traditions.

There may be small distinctions between Buddha and Tathagata: for example, in some Mahayana traditions, the following assertion is made. A Buddha turns the wheel of Dharma at a time when it has not been turned. In this context, there has only been one Buddha in this age, as any other Bodhisattvas who have realised omniscience have done so through his transmission of realisation. These Bodhisattvas are Tathāgatas, but they are not yet able to demonstrate as Buddhas (because the wheel of Dharma is already turned), and will have to wait until a suitable time and place occurs before they can manifest as Buddhas.

ja:如来 pl:Tathagata

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