Many sites claim that there were Two buddhas and both were different.
It is said that Adi buddha was the real avatar of lord vishnu.
Gautama buddha was only a enlightened one but not an avatar of lord vishnu.
Puri Shankaracharya’s view
Puri’s Shankaracharya too sheds some light in this regard as he goes on to say that though both’s gotra was the same i.e. Gautama Gotra, there were the below mentioned differentiating factors, indicating two Buddhas. These factors are:
- Buddhavatara was born as a Brahmin whereas Gautama Buddha was born in the Kshatriya lineage.
- As per ŚB 1.3.24, the Buddhavatara would be born in Kikata (Magadha South Bihar) whereas Gautama Buddha was born in Nepal.
According to him, the reasons for the confusion between both the Buddhas are:
- The iconography of Buddha and that has been given in the Agni Purana, Chapter 49, was confused with that of the Buddhists. (When as per another site Buddhists were Shunyavadis and never believed in idol worship)
- The Amarakosha written by Amar Singh, a Buddhist mentions the names of the two Buddhas in close proximity to each other which leads to the merger of the two. (Refer: this site for which names indicate which Buddha)
Puri’s Shankaracharya gives another very interesting point that while taking sankalpa, the words that are spoken include a term ‘Bauddhāvatāre’ meaning in the era of Bhagwan Shri Vishnu’s avatara named Buddha (जम्बूद्वीपे भारतवर्षे भरतखण्डे ... बौद्धावतारे...).
Also as per another account (can’t find it), one purpose of this avatara born in the Brahmin lineage, was to give the devatas their rightful share and conceal those mantras by which asuras could be invoked and mantras misused.
- Is this concept of two Buddhas real ?
- Which Buddha is the real incarnation of Lord Vishnu and what is his entire story and purpose of the avatara, comprising all his leelas (have any incidents in Buddhavatara’s life been merged with that of Gautama Buddha) ?
Note: as for the story, some Puranas try to confuse the two and try to show the two as same, I.e. Lord Vishnu deluding some people from the path of the Vedas, which as per Puri Shankaracharya isn’t true. He says it was for proper Yajnas etc too.