The Tathagatagarba and Buddha-nature doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism consider Buddhahood to be a universal and innate property of absolute wisdom. This wisdom is revealed in a person's current lifetime through Buddhist practice, without any specific relinquishment of pleasures or "earthly desires".
The various Buddhist schools hold some varying interpretations on the nature of Buddha.
Sanskrit Buddhist texts list ten indispensable acts Buddhas must perform.
Pali texts do not have such a list but the Pali commentarial tradition lists 30 obligatory acts.
Jack Maguire writes that Buddha is inspirational based on his humanness.
When King Devānāmpriya Priyadasin had been anointed twenty years, he came himself and worshipped (this spot) because the Buddha Shakyamuni was born here. (He) both caused to be made a stone bearing a horse (?) and caused a stone pillar to be set up, (in order to show) that the Blessed One was born here. (He) made the village of Lummini free of taxes, and paying (only) an eighth share (of the produce).
Buddhist Tantra also includes several female Buddhas, such as Tara, the most popular female Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism, who comes in many forms and colors.
Buddhist mythology overlapped with Hindu mythology. Akshobhya, for example, acquires a fierce Tantric form that is reminiscent of the fierce form of the Hindu god Shiva; in this form he became known by the Buddhist names Heruka, Hevajra, or Samvara. He is known in Japan in this guise as Fudō (“Imperturbable”). The Indian god Bhairava, a fierce bull-headed divinity, was adopted by Tantric Buddhists as Vajrabhairava. Also called Yamantaka (“Slayer of Death”) and identified as the fierce expression of the gentle Manjushri, he was accorded quasi-buddha rank.
Buddhas are frequently represented in the form of statues and paintings. Commonly seen designs include:
Most depictions of Buddha contain a certain number of markings, which are considered the signs of his enlightenment. These signs vary regionally, but two are common:
In the Pāli Canon, there is frequent mention of a list of thirty-two physical characteristics of the Buddha.