I have a little bit of time and thought of writing a few things to consider.
1. There are three ways to attain Nibbāna:
– A Sammā Sambuddha (like Buddha Gōtama) discovers the Noble Eightfold Path and achieves Nibbāna through his efforts, AND he can teach the doctrine to others.
– A second way to attain Nibbāna is to learn Dhamma from a Sammā Sambuddha or a true disciple of his. That is how an Arahant reaches nibbāna.
– Then a paccēka Buddha discovers the Path by himself but is not capable of explaining the path (Dhamma) to other people.
2. In all three cases, the same Nibbana (Enlightenment) is attained. That basically means stopping the suffering-filled rebirth process.
– However, a Sammā Sambuddha is a very special person. Without a Sammā Sambuddha, no one else (other than a paccēka Buddha) will be able to attain Nibbana.
3. I have not had time to read the article of Bhikkhu Analayo quoted by Lvalio.
– However, as I understand, Bhikkhu Analayo does not firmly believe in rebirth. He seems to be one of those “secular Buddhists” that I have discussed in the following post: “Buddhism without Rebirth and Nibbāna?.”
Finally regarding the following statement in Lavalio’s post: “But two followers of the Ajahn of Thailand’s forest responded that I was wrong and that this concept of taking many lives for someone to become a Buddha was outdated and basically a Buddha could get enlightenment through following the Noble Way octuple…“, I recommend the following post:
“Pāramitā and Niyata Vivarana – Myths or Realities?”
– Yes. It takes an enormous effort, through an enormous number of lives, to become a Buddha.
– A Buddha is indeed a VERY SPECIAL human. In fact, he is the ultimate scientist, since he discovers ALL ABOUT the wider world of 31 realms, AND how to escape from it.
– One cannot really appreciate the value of a Buddha until one starts comprehending that “wider world view.”
The sentence that I have highlighted shows the ignorance of whoever said that. No one can KNOW about the Eightfold Noble Path without a Buddha DISCOVERING it! A Buddha discovers that on his own.