provisional Buddha ［迹仏］ ( shakubutsu): Also, transient Buddha. A Buddha who does not reveal his true identity, but assumes a transient status or role in order to save the people. The term is used in contrast with “true Buddha,” a Buddha who has revealed his true identity. A true Buddha can be compared to the moon in the sky, and a provisional Buddha to its reflection on the surface of water. A provisional Buddha does not expound the truth in its entirety, but only partial aspects of the truth. From the standpoint of the essential teaching (latter half) of the Lotus Sutra, the Shakyamuni Buddha depicted in the pre-Lotus Sutra teachings and in the theoretical teaching (first half) of the sutra is a provisional Buddha because he has yet to reveal his true identity. In these teachings, Shakyamuni is presented as having attained Buddhahood for the first time under the bodhi tree during his lifetime in India. In the essential teaching, however, Shakyamuni declares that he actually attained Buddhahood in the inconceivably remote past. The Shakyamuni who has revealed this truth is called the true Buddha. See also true Buddha.