I just recently finished reading a book by Stephen Batchelor: Alone With Others
I read this book during the tour, and while difficult at times it was very rewarding. The author uses modern 20th century language to write about Buddhism.
Buddha does not represent a transhuman absolute value, but stands for the optimum mode of being that man himself is capable of realizing.
The phrase ‘the optimum mode of being’ is a way of decontaminating the misused and misunderstood term ‘Buddha’. As we have seen, ‘Buddha’ or ‘Buddhahood’ refers to a mode of being in which all that is disruptive and distorted has been eliminated, and all that is to be actualized has been actualized.
There is a nice quote by Shantideva:
In the same way as the hands and so forth are regarded as limbs of the body, likewise why are embodied creatures not regarded as limbs of life.