The service of the Universal Worship offers sincere respect to various world religions, and obviously our reverence will have more meaning if we have some insight into the teaching of each belief. Here, Hazrat Inayat Khan speaks about the Buddha, pointing out that for the Sufi, what the Buddha represents is the possibility of attainment inherent in every human being. The word ‘buddhi’ is here translated as ‘reason,’ but other possibilities include ‘insight,’ ‘understanding,’ or ‘pure intelligence.’
Buddha was the title of Gautama. He was called Buddha because his spirit expressed the meaning of the word Buddhi. The word Buddhi in Sanskrit means reason. In the Buddhist terminology the ‘Spirit of Guidance’ is named Bodhisattva, which means the essence of reason. Reason in its essence is of a liquid form, it is the cream of intelligence. When it is crystallized it becomes rigid. Very often ‘intellectuality’ refers to a knowledge formed by reasons, most of them of rigid character. The fine reason is subtle; the finer the reason the less it can be explained in words. It is therefore that people with fine reason cannot very well put their reason into words. Reason in its essence is the depth of intelligence. The intelligence ‘knows’, not because it has learned–it knows because it ‘knows’. In this higher reason the ‘Spirit of Guidance’ is conceived and from that fountain of reason all the great Prophets have drunk.
In the teaching of true Buddhism, Buddha has never been considered an exclusive personality. Buddha has been known to the Buddhists who have understood his Message rightly as a man who attained realization of that essence of reason in which is the fulfillment of life’s purpose.
Worshipping Buddha does not mean that the Buddhist worships the personality of his spiritual master; it only means that if there is any object that deserves worship most, it is a human being, it is the person from whose heart the essence of reason, Buddhi, has risen as a spring. By this knowledge, he recognizes the possibility for every soul of attaining that bliss, whatever be his grade of evolution, trusting that the innermost being of every soul is divine.
The honey of life is hope. If the knowledge of God does not give hope to attain the divine bliss which is attained in life, that knowledge is of no use. Man may believe in God for years and yet may not be benefited by the spiritual bliss, for the spiritual bliss is not only in believing but it is in knowing God.
Buddhi, which is subtle reasoning, is the path which leads to the goal. The absence of that keeps a person in obscurity. As the sun is the source of light which outwardly shows things in life, so Buddhi is the inner source of light which enables the person to see life clearly, inwardly and outwardly. The true aim of the disciples of Buddha has been not to adhere to Buddha, to his name or his ideal, but to take Buddha before them as an example; their idea is the secret of Sufism.