Tathagata is a title for Gautama Buddha used by his followers and by Gautama when he is speaking of himself. Literally translated as “thus come one” or “thus gone one,” the word is variously taken to mean a perfectly enlightened one; one who has come and gone as other Buddhas, teaching the same truths and following the same path; or one who has attained “suchness” (tathata) or become one with the Dharmakaya, hence he neither comes from anywhere nor goes anywhere.
Pearls of Wisdom, vol. 32, no. 30, July 23, 1989.