Buddha is commonly referred to as the enlightened one, and a teacher of spirituality. Buddha is also mistakenly believed to be just one entity or person.
Anyone who is enlightened becomes referred to as Buddha, however, he/she can become enlightened in a different way representing another way of teaching apart from the original Buddha. Siddharta Gautama was the first Buddha and was enlightened under the Bodhi Tree sitting in a Lotus meditation position. This posture is what most people refer to as Buddha and has spread the furthest east and west. In Mahayana Buddhism, they refer to Siddhartha as the Shakyamuni Buddha representing wisdom, and the spread of initial Buddhism.
With the spread of Buddhism, depictions, and iconography of Buddha were spread and sold. Buddha iconography is not to show how Buddha looks or to represent him as a god, it is supposed to represent a spiritual emanation of the Buddha and is worshiped or prayed upon only as a communication with the supernatural/spiritual qualities the image contains.
There are, however, certain rules of representation that must be adhered to:
- Long ears representing his past material
- Spiral on his head
- Calm demeanor or face
- Thin plain robe