You think of the Buddha, you think of a young man who was born in Kapilavastu (Nepal) who practiced many years in the forests and who went around in India to give a teaching. But that is only a portion of the Buddha because the woman claimed to the Buddha to begin to build a sangha. He begins to transfer himself to the sangha and many disciples are monastic like a lay. They continue the Buddha.
And you have to see the Buddha in the Sangha. You have to be able to see the Buddha in the Dharma. And if you have not seen the Dharma and Sangha, you have not seen the Buddha. And the Dharma is available in the here and the now. The Sangha is also available in the here and the now. You don't have to go to India in order to see the Buddha.
If we believe the Buddha is a God, they can bestow us the things we want. Then that is not the Buddha. The Buddha is a human being who has a deep capacity of understanding and of loving. And having Maha Karuna (great compassion), Maha Maitri (great love), Maha Prajna (great understanding), he can perform miracles. Understanding people is a miracle. And it is described that the Buddha is the one who understands the world well. Lokavid, it means the understanding the world. And because he understands the world deeply, that is why he can offer that kind of teaching that can help to heal the world. And the miracle of understanding and the miracle of teaching are the very important miracles that the Buddha can perform.
When you give a teaching, that can transform people who hear you, that is a miracle. The Buddha describes as the greatest miracle of all miracles. And they are disciples of Buddha who are capable of doing that during the time of the Buddha. They could already continue the Buddha in the time of the Buddha. And in our times, those of us who can do the same by their practice, by their teaching, they can heal people, they can help people liberate themselves from their suffering. So, the miracle continues.
Understanding is the foundation of unconditional love and compassion. So, in order to heal people and help people liberate themselves from their suffering, we need to understand the root cause of their suffering. If we understand the root cause of suffering of violent people such as terrorists, we will see that they were victims in their childhood. Then, we can generate compassion and help their transformation. What they need is healing, not punishment.
Thích Nhất Hạnh