A Buddha is any being who has become awakened to the ultimate truth of life, one who perceives the true entity of all phenomena, and who leads others to attain the same enlightenment. In India the word buddha was originally a common noun meaning "awakened one," but in Buddhism it is used to mean one who has become awakened to the ultimate truth of life. In Hinayana the word means one who has entered the state of nirvana, in which both body and mind are extinguished. Provisional Mahayana generally teaches that one becomes a Buddha after eradicating illusions through aeons of austere and meritorious practices, gradually acquiring the thirty-two features of a Buddha.
The perfect teaching of the Lotus Sutra views the Buddha as one endowed with the three virtues of sovereign, teacher and parent, who is enlightened to the truth of all phenomena and who teaches it to the people in order to save them from suffering. In Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, the Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law is the original Buddha eternally endowed with the three properties and the three virtues, who appears in the form of a common mortal and expounds the Mystic Law.