We Are Buddha
In my interpretation, the Sangha is the community of people who help you towards Enlightenment, the Dharma are the natural laws of the universe that you need to abide by and pay attention to in order to achieve Enlightenment, and the Buddha is the ultimate model of the Enlightened individual living in the context of Samsara. All three are needed in order to achieve Enlightenment in any realm, form, or time. Once Enlightenment has been achieved by an individual, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth ceases for that individual. There is no further need, reason, cause, or ability for that individual to suffer any further in Samsara. What remains from that individual is their Buddha essence, which continues to be present and pervade the entirety of the universe, known, unknown, knowable, and unknowable. In this sense, the Buddha has never left our existence, even though Siddharta has ceased to be reborn. We are Buddhas are underneath the filth of suffering. Greed (attachment), ignorance (willful or otherwise), and carelessness (lack of compassion) are intrinsic in Samsara. Yet beneath that is a wondrous presence that is common to us all. We can either acknowledge our own faults, peel away at the interstellar gunk that clouds our minds and hearts, and become that which we are, or we can be lazy, indoctrinated into one of the causes of suffering, and ultimately fail to realize a lasting bliss which characterizes peace of mind, wisdom, awareness, and compassion.
It should be noted that Buddhism is the one way that I can think of that enables one to achieve Buddhahood conscientiously and deliberately. All other religions, philosophies, and ways of life either will get you to better rebirths or to Enlightenment through happenstance and the accumulation of past deeds from many many many different lifetimes. This is similar to how the scientific method is the one way to understand and comprehend the universe beyond the thoughts in your head, which enables one to achieve real results for better or for worse on this plane of existence. All other methods with working with the world may only make you and others feel temporarily better without actually making you better or may allow you to succeed by chance and chance alone. It is the difference between self-medication and substance abuse and taking substances with a medicinal purpose, intent, and under verification from well-versed and knowledgeable clinicians who have made a correct diagnosis of the causes of your suffering. One may help. But it will only help by chance, be not as effective as other methods, or else, do more harm to your well-being than good. The other may likewise have mistakes inflicted upon you. You can still suffer at the hands of even a competent doctor, just as you can suffer at your own hands or an incompetent doctor. But, this other way is what will more likely lead you to being cured of what’s actually afflicting you. The choice is up to you, especially when it comes to you making a choice to put a deliberate, consistent, and sustained effort into making it work.
Only you can liberate yourself from Samsara or make a way out of the suffering that you may presently be in. The essence of the Buddhas, the laws and conditions of the Dharma, and the presence of the Sangha, regardless of the forms or ways that you perceive them are always going to be there to help and will always be present as soon as you think about them. That is the power of Buddhism and the essence of Buddhist philosophy. It is not the gods or even God who will save us and yourself. It is always ultimately going to be up to you to make the world and yourself better. It is you who ultimately fails to accomplish this goal when you neglect the natural laws and conditions of the universe. It is you who ultimately fails when you lack the care, compassion, or wisdom to make things be better for yourself.
I’m sorry that I don’t have happier news to give you. I wish that I could have a magical being to enable us to all be Enlightened and cease to be reborn permanently in this universe. I wish I had such a being for myself, actually, to make it so I would never ever have to come back to Samsara again. But, unfortunately, that is not the case. I am here with you because I made a choice to be here, even in the most subconscious of senses. I came here because I either did something inanely stupid and wrong, or was motivated by an honest, if foolish choice to help all other beings achieve Enlightenment before myself, not realizing that the only way I can be of help to others is to help myself and, paradoxically, let them go and enable them to figure it out for themselves in their own right and in their own ways. I’m not sure whether my exhaustion is from being too old of a soul, being too immature of a soul, or simply being not entirely healthy on what ultimately is a physical level. In any case, I’ll simply abide until my time is come. What else is there to do?