(Last Updated on : 30/05/2015)
The very word buddha stands for "awakened intelligence." The word buddhi, "intellect," is also derived from the similar root. The root word budh possesses numerous dimensions to it. There exists no single English word that can decode it. The word budh has many entailments; it is fluid and elegiac. In no other language does any word like budh exist, with such an array of meanings. There are no less than five meanings to the word budh.
The first meaning of budh is 'to awake', to wake oneself up, to awaken others, to be awake. As such, it is opposed to being in a state of sleep, it is opposed to being in the slumber of delusion from which the enlightened awakens as from a dream. That is the first meaning of intelligence, budh: 'to create an awakening within oneself'. Ordinarily people are asleep. Even while one thinks that one is awake, he/she is not. While walking on the road, one is fully awake, in one's mind. But from the perspective of a buddha (the enlightened one or the awakened one; not necessarily Gautama Buddha), one is fast asleep, because a thousand and one dreams and thoughts are clamouring within. One's inner light is misted in a kind of sleep. Buddha states that one is also walking in sleep with open eyes. However, during that moment one's inner eye is never open. One is not aware yet and is not knowledgeable about who he/she is. One has still not peeped into one's own reality; one is hence not awake. A mind full of thoughts is not awake, can never be awake. Only a mind that has dismissed thoughts and thinking, which has spread out the clouds so the sun is burning bright in a sky utterly empty of clouds, is the mind that is intelligent, that is awake.
Intelligence, budh is the capacity to be in the present. The more one is in the past or in the future, the less intelligent one is. Intelligence is the capacity to be here now, to be in this moment and nowhere else. Then only one can be termed as awake. Buddhism cites an example in this case. One is sitting in a house and the house suddenly catches fire; one's life is in danger. Then for a moment one is bound to be awake. In that moment one will not think many thoughts. In that moment one is sure to forget one's past. In that moment one will not be clamoured at by psychological memories. When one's house is on fire one cannot afford loose kind of thinking. Suddenly one will rush to this moment: the house is on fire and life is at stake. One will not dream about the future or about what one is going to do tomorrow. Tomorrow is no longer relevant, yesterday is no longer relevant, even today is no longer relevant. Only this moment, this split second counts.
That is the first meaning of budh, intelligence. And then there are great perceptivenesses. A man who wants to be awake, wants to be a buddha, has to live each moment in such intensity as one dwells only rarely. The first meaning to budh is the opposite of sleep. One is able to perceive reality only when one is not asleep. One can face it, one can look into the eyes of truth, or call it "God", only when one is awake. When an individual is absolutely awake, then there is insight. That insight brings freedom; that insight brings truth.
The second meaning of budh, intelligence is 'to recognise, to become aware of, acquainted with, to notice, give heed to'. A buddha is one who has recognised the false as the false and has opened his eyes to the true as the true. To see the false as false is the offset of understanding what truth is. Only when one perceives the false as false can one see what truth is. One can never go on living in illusions; one cannot go on living in one's own beliefs; one cannot go on living in personal prejudices if there exists the urge to know truth. The false has to be recognised as false. That is the second meaning of budh-recognition of the false as false, of the untrue as untrue.
There even lies an example for the second meaning of budh or intelligence. One has always believed in God; one was born a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan. He/she has been taught that God exists, he/she has been made afraid of God, that if one does not have faith in him one is sure to suffer, he/she is bound to be punished; God is ferocious and He will never forgive. The Jewish Cod says, "I am a jealous Cod. Worship only me and nobody else!" The Mohammedan Cod says the same thing: "There is only one God, and no other Cod; and there is only one prophet of God, Mohammed, and no other prophet." This conditioning can penetrate so deep within that it can linger even if one starts disbelieving in God. This can be the case for most common mass. One has been brought up to believe in God and that was a fact that can never be questioned. This is a belief. Whether God actually exists or not has nothing to do with one's belief. Whether one believes or not makes no difference to truth. But if one still believes in God, one will go on seeing; at least thinking that one perceives God. If one does not have faith in God, that disbelief in God will prevent one from knowing. All beliefs prevents one because they become prejudices around oneself, they become "thought-coverings", what the Buddha referred to as avarnas.
The man of intelligence, equipped with budh, does not believe in anything and does not disbelieve in anything. The man of intelligence is open to recognising whatever is the case. If God is there he will recognise, but not according to his belief. He possesses no belief. Only in a non-believing intelligence can truth appear. When one already believes, he/she does not allow truth any space to come near. It always happens that one's prejudice is already enthroned. One cannot consider something that goes against one's beliefs; he/she will become afraid, shaky and start to tremble. It is but natural that since much of the life, much time and so many prayers have been devoted to one's faith in God, now suddenly, he/she can never acknowledge that there is no God. As a result, he will go on avoiding.
However, the matter of Budh, intelligence is not about God's being or non-being. The matter is essentially something concerned with one's own self, not with God. A clear mind is needed, an intelligence is needed that does not hold tight to any belief. Buddhism states that then only one can be like a mirror: reflecting that which is; and not distorting it. This comes as the second meaning of budh. An intelligent person is neither a communist nor a Catholic. An intelligent person does not believe, does not disbelieve. That is not his mode of thinking. He looks into life and whatever is there he is ready to see it. He has no barriers to his vision; his vision is transparent. Only those few people reach the truth.
The third meaning of the root budh, intelligence, is 'to know, to understand'. Buddha knows that which is; he understands that which is and in that very understanding he is liberated from all bondage. Budh means to know in the sense of to understand, not in the sense of knowledgeability. Buddha is never knowledgeable. An intelligent person does not pay much attention to information and knowledge. An intelligent person pays much more attention to the capacity to know. His unquestionable interest is in knowing, not in knowledge. Knowing endows one with understanding; knowledge only renders a feeling of understanding without lending real understanding. Knowledge is a delusive coin; it is misleading. It only renders one the feeling that he/she knows, yet they don't know anything at all. One can gather knowledge according to one's wish, to become extremely knowledgeable. Yet, he/she still remains the same ignorant, dull person one has always been.
One thing that goes wrong is that everybody depends on knowledge. They need not become knowers, they can depend on knowledge. They have found a second-hand way. The first-hand requires courage. Only a few people can afford first-hand knowledge. Budh, intelligence is never gained through worldly passages of knowing. The danger is that such people might get lost. It is a question of high stakes. Through knowledge one's memory grows bigger and bigger, but intelligence does not.
The third meaning of budh, intelligence is to know, in the sense of understanding. The Buddha has seen that which is. He understands that which is and in that very understanding he is free from all bondage. This entails several meanings. For example, if one wants to get rid of fear, he/she will have to understand fear. However, if one wishes to avoid the fact that fear is there, that the fear of death is there, if one is afraid inside, he/she will have to create something strong around, like a hard shell. And that is not the only point. One will never become aware that one is afraid because of that hard shell. It will shield one from others and it will protect one from one's own understanding.
An intelligent person does not escape from any fact. If it is fear he will dive deep into it, because the way out is through. If he senses fear and trembling arising within, he will leave everything else aside. He will go right into the root cause of fear; he will try to comprehend. He will not try to figure out how not to be afraid; he will not ask that question. He will simply ask one question: "What is this fear? It is there, it is part of me, it is my reality. I have to go into it, I have to understand it. If I don't understand it then a part of me will always remain unknown to me. And how am I going to know who I am if I go on avoiding parts of myself? I will not understand fear, I will not understand death, I will not understand anger. I will not understand my hatred, I will not understand my jealousy...."
In order to know and understand oneself, one has to go into everything that is there, every nook and corner; he/she has to explore fear. Even trembling comes in the way, it is nothing to be worried about. One can tremble, but it is always advised to go in. It is far better to tremble than to escape, because once one escapes, that part will remain unknown forever. The outcome will be that he/she will become more and more afraid to look at it, because that fear will go on piling up. It will become bigger and bigger if one does not enter into it right now, this moment.
Budh in Buddhism advices to go into it and see it without prejudice. Seeing means that one does not condemn fear as bad from the very beginning. The explorer has to remain open to all possibilities; he cannot afford a closed mind. A closed mind and exploration never goes together. He will go into it. If it brings suffering and pain, he will suffer the pain, but he will go into it. One needs to penetrate into each negative thing and he is sure to find the positive. And knowing the negative and the positive, the third, the ultimate happens, the transcendental. That is the meaning of understanding, budh, intelligence.
The fourth meaning of budh, intelligence is 'to be enlightened' and 'to enlighten'. The Buddha is the light; he has become the light. And since he is the light and he has become the light, he shows the light to others, naturally. He is illumination. His darkness has disappeared; his inner flame is burning bright. The Buddha's flame is wholly smokeless. This meaning is opposed to darkness and the corresponding blindness and ignorance. This is the fourth meaning of budh: to become light, to become enlightened.
Ordinarily one is darkness, a continent of darkness, unexplored. People explore the diversified outer world, but they never try to explore the inner being. Humankind has landed on the moon, but people have not landed yet in their own beings, maybe due to fear of escaping to the outer realm. The intelligent being will go inward first. Before going anywhere else, he/she will go into one's own being. That is the first thing and it is the first preference. Only when one has known oneself, can he/she go anywhere else. Then wherever one travels, he/she will carry a blissfulness around, a peace, a silence, a celebration.
The fourth meaning of root budh, intelligence is to be enlightened. Intelligence is the spark. With little help and cooperation, it can become the fire and the light and the warmth. It can become light, it can become life, it can become love, those are all included within the word enlightenment. An enlightened person possesses no dark corners within his being. To be a buddha is to attain to a morning with bright sun shining, a dawn within oneself. That is the function of intelligence, the ultimate function.
The fifth meaning of budh, intelligence is 'to fathom'. A depth is there within, a bottomless depth, which has to be fathomed. The fifth meaning of budh can also stand for 'to penetrate', 'to drop all that obstructs and penetrate to the core of your being'. People try to penetrate many things in life. One's craving, one's desire for sex is nothing but a kind of penetration. But that is a penetration into the other. The same penetration has to happen within one's own being. If one looks deep into somebody else, it can give one a momentary glimpse. But if one penetrates oneself, he/she can attain to the universal, that remains everlastingly.
Buddhism in this regard, cites a striking example. A man meets an outer woman and a woman meets an outer man: this is a very shallow meeting, yet meaningful, yet it brings moments of joy. But when the inner woman meets the inner man and one is carrying both inside: a part of feminine, a part of masculine, this comes as a culminating meet of fathoming. The fifth meaning of the root budh is penetration. When one's inner man penetrates one's inner woman there is a meeting; one becomes whole, he/she becomes one. All desires for the outer disappear. In that desirelessness is freedom, nirvana.
The path of Buddha is the path of budh, intelligence. In this context it should be remembered that "Buddha" is not essentially the name of Gautama Buddha; Buddha is the state that he had attained. His name was in truth Gautama Siddhartha. Then one day he became Buddha; one day his bodhi, his intelligence, bloomed. "Buddha" means exactly what "Christ" entails. Jesus's name was not Christ; that is the ultimate flowering that happened to him. So it is with Buddha. There have been many buddhas other than Gautama Siddhartha.
Everybody possesses the capacity for budh. But budh, that capacity to perceive, is just like a seed within. If it sprouts, it becomes a big tree, starts blooming, starts spreading towards the sky, one is a Buddha. The path of Buddha is the path of intelligence, budh. It is not an emotional path. Buddha's path is pure Cyan Yoga, the path of knowing. Buddha's path is the path of meditation, not of love.
Buddhism relates that the intellect has to be used, not discarded; it has to be transcended. Intellect can be transcended only when one has reached the uppermost spoke of the ladder. One has to go on growing in intelligence. Then a moment will come when intelligence has performed all that it can do.
Buddha's path of budh goes through intelligence and goes beyond it. A moment comes when intelligence has rendered all that it can give, then it is no longer deemed necessary. Its work is finished. The work of intelligence, budh is to aid one to become aware of one's own being. Once that work has happened and the being is there, there is no need for this instrument. Buddha's path is the path of intelligence, pure intelligence, although it goes beyond it.