Buddha — The most intelligent man
It’s a Wednesday. And its Buddha Poornima. I also got an impulse to write about Buddha. Gautam the Buddha has been a beacon of light to the whole world. The man who attained enlightenment and showed the world a new way to live — a life of compassion and mindfulness.
In today’s world mindfulness has been become quite the savvy word. So in the past few years, there has been a rising interest in meditation. Although eastern mysticism has been popular in the west since the 60s now there is a far more systematic approach. Yoga and meditation are not considered just some hippy activity but attract people from all walks of life right from the corporate suits to the homemakers. And why not? The benefits of meditation are such that it has a positive impact on all areas of your life. There are hundreds of people teaching it and millions of people pursuing it. A lot of them are motivated towards it because mindfulness has been shown to increase productivity in work and lessen stress levels. But some perhaps can be said to pursue it to more happiness in life. And this pursuit of happiness according to me is the first sign of intelligence.
Today I feel inspired to talk about Gautam the Buddha — the most intelligent and rational man I know of. I feel it requires great intelligence to know compassion and only the most rational of human beings will understand that violence is not good. We as a society often make the mistake of defining intelligence with the ability to solve complex equations or wittiness. But I would like to invite you to think just a little differently. Would you call it intelligence if someone keeps tormenting themselves mentally? Would it be intelligent to become angry and resentful time and over again and never try to find a way out of it?
Esp now that there is scientific evidence to prove that anger harms oneself. Yet people even with good IQ continue to repeat similar patterns that bring them misery. If a person is hurt and doesn’t get himself treated then how can they be called intelligent? I have nothing against people with a high IQ and in fact, they are more likely to understand reasons of good sense. My point is simply to state that intelligence is more than just an IQ score or an EQ score. It is observable from the fact that even those who are adjudged to be intelligent by society live a miserable life, plagued by insecurities. Similarly, there is no substance in the relevance of phrases like — highly intelligent people tend to be finicky. Because the very definition of intelligence is questionable. Everyone is finicky about something and to some extent. Almost all of us get affected by the miseries of life. It has got nothing to do with the amount of money or the number of friends you have. The moment something undesirable happens, the mind becomes anxious. When we are anxious we make people around us anxious as well. Yet most of us never try to find out the reasons behind our misery and how to be free from it.
A society that spends bulks of its money in wars can hardly be called intelligent. The current pandemic is an example of self-created misery. A virus created by humans for humans. Such a society where people invest more time in creating division amongst each other and are driven by competition is not very different from animals operating in the jungles.
So that brings up a question — are we then intelligent enough to truly understand intelligence. Perhaps few sections might have the ability to recognize intelligence but to understand is a different ball game altogether. Understanding is not the same as the accumulation of knowledge.
An intelligent person will first foremost find a solution to their unhappiness. Isn’t that what we all are after? Money, luxuries, sex, power are all pursued as a means to be happy. But we get so involved in the means that we forget the end goal of happiness. If this was not the case then the rich, the powerful, the famous would be enlightened beings.
Considering all these things in mind I say that Gautam the Buddha is the most intelligent man I know of. (There is no doubt there have been others like him — before, during, and after his time but the number is a minuscule percentage of people)
Here is an example of a person who was the crowned prince of the state and yet he left it all in pursuit of happiness. As a highly sensitive person, Sidharta Gautam realized that there is Dukha in Samsara ( misery in the world). It is this high level of intelligence I speak of which, told him that all the material things in the world cannot bring happiness. It is this high level of intelligence that made him pursue lasting happiness relentlessly. It is this high level of intelligence that helped him conclude life to be causal. Sidharta understood — Every effect is a result of a cause created and with awareness you can know the cause. He rediscovered — Vipassana (literally meaning — looking carefully ) a technique of observing body sensations and employed it to become free from aversion and craving. It’s through Vipassana that he discovered all the causes and effects he was involved in and became Buddha — the enlightened on.
It wouldn’t have been true intelligence had he stopped there.
Once Sidharta Gautam found a way to be happy he did what seemed like the most rational thing to do. He went onto teaching others how to be happy. Only an intelligent life form can recognize that to live with compassion is the most rational thing to do.
A lot of people call Buddhism a religion where there is no God and associate it with words like agnostic or even atheist. I feel that these people miss out on the essence of Buddha’s teachings. He wanted to share a way to be happy. The Noble Eight-Fold path doesn’t mention God but it does talk about misery and joys. It talks about what actions will bring joy and what actions will bring misery. An unhappy person is not in a position to understand God.
Gautam didn’t want to start a religion, he was neither interested in creating a fandom. His interest lay in making people self-sufficient so that they become a light unto themselves ( which were also his final words).
Only a lifeform of the highest intelligence can act in such a manner.