Is Buddha a God to be worshipped?

Buddha, carries the meaning of to be self enlightened; to enlighten others, and in the process of doing so, attains full enlightenment first, an enlightenment that is constantly and always in existence. Hence, Buddha is also known as the wholly wise one or the one who has attained full, proper and pervasive knowledge.

Buddha was from our world; he was born two thousand, five hundred, thirty-three years ago (B.C 544 yrs), in the Kapilavastu City in India, as Sakya prince.
After enlightenment, he was known as Sakyamuni. Sakya was the Buddha’s clan name, meaning “to be humane”. Muni was a respectable title used to address saints and sages in olden India and it meant “the quiet one”. He was the founder of Buddhism.

From Sakyamuni Buddha’s verbal teachings, we understand that though present historic records only indicated that Sakyamuni was the only person who had attained Buddhahood, in the remote past, there were also other Buddhas who had been born into this world, and in the future, there will be Buddhas born into our world too.

In the world of ten directions, there are also many Buddhas present. Hence, Buddhism do not deem Buddha as the only one with unparalleled existence.

Buddhism acknowledges that in the past, present and future, innumerable Buddhas will exist. It further believes that all humans and all sentient beings (including animals), regardless if they believe in the Buddha or not, will all have the potential to become Buddhas in the future. This is because Buddhism believes that
Buddha is the enlightened sentient being, and all other sentient beings are merely yet to be enlightened Buddhas. In terms of abilities, though mortals and saints may have different standards, but when it comes to innate qualities of Buddhistic nature, they are actually equal.

Therefore, Buddhism does not worship Buddha as the only God, hence Buddhist are also known as atheists.

(Extracted from Venerable Master Sheng Yen’s works《The Fundamental Understanding to Buddhism》