You may have heard “Buddha is not a God”.
And when we hear this statement, we immediately try to establish the correct identity of Buddha. Then we learn, Buddha is a teacher of Gods and men, He is a tamer of man, the all-knowing one in the 3 worlds. So on and so forth.
When we are busy establishing the correct identity of Buddha, we might lose sight of an important message behind that statement. We should also ask ourselves, what is the implication of Buddha not being a God?
Reward or Punishment
Foremost, people worship God/ Deities and try their best to be in their good book. That way, God / Deities will bestow blessings upon them; Otherwise an angry God will punish. We do not have that kind of situation with Buddha. Buddhist honor Buddha out of respect not fear.
Feeling lost in life
Sometimes, life gets tough and we feel lost, just like a helpless and lost child crying for help. Although Buddha is our best refuge, He does not take spiritual ownership over us. That is something very meaningful and it demonstrates Buddha’s unconditional compassion and loving kindness.
From the aforesaid, we should understand that Buddha does not “own” us. We are not spiritual slaves or servant. Neither do we need to “please” Buddha like how we worship gods or supernatural beings.
More importantly, this means that our relationship with Buddhist teachers, monks and nuns does not encourage servitude too! We honor and make offerings out of respect. Buddha had also taught us how to determine if a person deserves our respect. There simply isn’t any room for abuse of authority.
May all be well and happy.