In Buddhism, a Buddha (Sanskrit, Pāli) is any being who has become fully awakened (enlightened), has permanently overcome anger, greed, and ignorance, and has achieved complete liberation from suffering. Enlightenment (or Nirvana) is the highest form of happiness. The name Buddha is commonly used to refer to Siddhartha Gautama, the historical founder of Buddhism. Buddha literally means "awakened" or "that which has become aware". It is the past participle of the Sanskrit root budh, i.e. "to awaken", "to know", or "to become aware". The word Buddha is simply a title that means 'The Awakened One'.
The teachings of the Buddha are called the Dharma. The Dharma teaches that all suffering arises from attachments, particularly attachments to worldly desires. Nirvana is achieved by recognizing how these attachments cause us suffering, and no longer being ignorant to them.
A typical misconception tends to link Buddha as the Buddhist counterpart of the entity known as God; however, Buddhism is non-theistic, in the sense of not generally teaching the existence of a supreme Creator God (see God in Buddhism) or depending on any supreme being for enlightenment, in Buddhism, Buddha is a guide and teacher who points the way. The commonly accepted definition of the term "God" refers to a being who not only rules but actually created the Universe in the Beginning. Such ideas and concepts are disputed by Buddha and Buddhists in many of his discourses. The supreme origin and creator of our world and universe isn't God in Buddhism, but Avidya or ignorance. Buddhists try to dispel this darkness through constant practice, wisdom and compassion known as prajna.
In the Pali Canon Buddha refers to anyone who has become Enlightened (i.e. having awakened to the truth, or Dharma) on their own, without a teacher to point out the Dharma, in a time when the teachings on the Four Noble Truths or the Eightfold Path do not exist in the world.
Generally, Buddhists do not consider Siddhartha Gautama to have been the only Buddha. In the Pali Canon there is a mention of Gautama Buddha as being the 28th Buddha. A common buddhist belief is that the next Buddha will be one named Maitreya.
Buddhism teaches that anyone can become awakened and experience Nirvana. Theravada Buddhism teaches that one doesn't need to become a Buddha to become awakened and experience Nirvana, since an Arahant also has those qualities. Some Buddhist texts such as the Lotus Sutra imply that all beings will become Buddhas at some point in time.