Season 2 of Record of Ragnarok explored a background storyline involving Buddha himself as he was seemingly in the thick of things in the entire events surrounding the Ragnarok tournament. That was because Loki suspected that he was the one who taught the Valkyries how to perform Volundr, which allowed the spirits of the Valkyries to become one with a human so that they could become stronger. In that regard, Loki suspected that Buddha could be a traitor to the gods. So, did Buddha actually betray the gods?
Buddha did indeed betray the gods not only when he taught the Valkyries how to use Volundr but also when he declared himself the champion of humankind in round 6 of the tournament. His history as a human and the fact that he despised the way the other gods were acting were catalysts to his betrayal.
The way that Buddha was portrayed in Record of Ragnarok is quite unique due to the fact that he isn’t the same kind of peaceful man that he is often portrayed in history. Nevertheless, Buddha was still the enlightened one in the Record of Ragnarok because he was the only one with the wisdom to realize that he needed to fight on the side of humanity in the fight against the gods. Now, let’s look at Buddha’s betrayal in the Record of Ragnarok.
Did Buddha Really Betray The Gods?
Back in round 3 of the Ragnarok tournament between gods and humanity, one of the things that we learned was the fact that humanity was now strong enough to defeat the gods as that was when Kojiro Sasaki showcased enough power to defeat Poseidon using his Volundr, a power that he obtained from the Valkyries. In that regard, the Valkyries were the trump cards of humankind because they gave them enough power to actually slay gods.
In round 4, humanity tied the record 2-2 due to the victory of Jack the Ripper over Hercules. This placed the gods in a tough spot, as Loki was curious enough to wonder about the power that the Valkyries were able to give the humans. As strong as Valkyries are, they are not anywhere close to the power of the gods. That was when Loki decided to confront Buddha.
While confronting Buddha, Loki suggested that he was the one who taught the Valkyries how to perfect Volundr in such a way that their spirits would be in perfect sync with their human partners. As such, this allowed the Valkyries and the humans to have enough power to match the gods in a fight, as their spirits were now in perfect unison. And considering that Buddha came from the realm of spirits, Loki concluded that he was the one that taught the Valkyries this technique.
Buddha ignored everything that Loki had just said as a confrontation between the gods was about to commence. Everything became messy when the Shinto gods, Sasaki, and the Shinsengumi arrived. Zeus broke up a possible fight that would have happened. But the thing that can’t be ignored is Buddha’s possible betrayal of the gods.
After Shiva defeated Raiden in the fifth round to give the lead to the gods once more, Zeus was seen approaching Buddha in one of the gardens in heaven. That was when Zeus asked him to participate in the sixth round. Despite the fact that Buddha wasn’t too fond of Zeus, he actually agreed to fight in the sixth round and even hugged Zeus in what seemed to be a show of unity between the two powerful gods.
When Heimdall announced Buddha as a participant in the sixth round of Ragnarok, the Enlightened One was quick to take Gjallarhorn away from him to announce to the entire audience that he was going to be fighting not on the side of the gods but of humanity because no one would protect the humans from the gods. In that regard, he did indeed betray the gods not only when he taught Volundr to the Valkyries but also by fighting on the side of the humans in the tournament.
Why Did Buddha Betray The Gods?
While we did say that Buddha betrayed the gods when he decided to fight on the side of humanity in Ragnarok, the reasons he had for fighting for humanity were never made clear in the anime. And this side of the story is yet to be animated, as it can be found in the manga.
To understand Buddha’s betrayal is to understand his history. Like Hercules, Buddha didn’t start out as a god but was actually a prince named Gautama Siddharth. He lived in Central Nepal thousands of years ago and was able to enjoy his life when he had the finest things that a person could ever dream of having.
Siddhartha’s father, King Suddhodana, approached a fortune teller that revealed that his son would be one of the greatest leaders in the world and that he was going to become the greatest of all humans and was destined to be the ruler of the world. As such, the king taught that his son would indeed be the ruler of the entire world later on in his life.
As an adolescent, Siddhartha visited his relative, King Jataka, who was terminally ill and was always bedridden. The prince complimented Jataka on how much Malla, his kingdom, prospered despite the fact that he was ill. Siddhartha saw how the citizens were living prosperous lives that allowed them to be happy.
Jataka, however, said that he wasn’t the one responsible for making Malla such a great place as his life was only dictated to him. His job as king was something that he inherited through birth and was not something that he earned. He even said that he never had the opportunity to explore the world. This made Siddhartha question whether or not he did indeed deserve the life he was living and if this was the kind of life that he truly wanted.
The prince realized that the life he was living was no different from the one that Jataka had because everything he had was a result of his destiny as a prince that was set to rule after his father’s time. His fate was already imposed on him the moment he was born, and that was when he decided that no one would ever control his fate. He barged into Jataka’s funeral to cast away his royalty and his family while promising the fallen king that he would be the one to fulfill his dream of exploring the world.
Siddhartha started traveling the world to meet new people while opposing religions that already had predetermined fates and destinies imposed on their followers. He even opposed religions that included human sacrifices because no god would ever want harm to happen to anyone.
That was when Siddhartha founded his own religion called Buddhism and became the man known as Buddha. During his travels, Buddha even met Zerofoku, a powerful Shinto god. Zerofoku noticed that the people that were traveling with Buddha were legitimately happy, and he asked how Buddha achieved that. That was when Buddha told the Shinto god that happiness is not something that can be given away but is something a person needs to achieve.
In that regard, Buddha was an enlightened person that eventually ascended to the level of a god later in his life. He was never truly a god but was always a human being that regarded his fellow humans as his equals. It is his love and respect for humans that made him want to fight for humanity instead of the gods.
On top of that, Buddha had a deep hatred for religions that placed the gods at a level far above humans. He hated the older religions that he encountered during his earlier days, as he even opposed things such as fate and human sacrifices. That is the reason why he was never fond of the other gods despite his status as a godlike being.
There is also the fact that Buddha hates fate and doesn’t like things being imposed on other people. When Zeus ordered him to participate in the sixth round of Ragnarok, that was the last straw because he now had every reason to oppose the gods as he didn’t like being told what to do. As such, his very nature as a human that opposed things like fate and destiny made him want to protect humanity and oppose the gods.
His love for humanity, of course, wasn’t too different from Hercules’ love for humankind. But the thing is that Hercules ascended to his godlike state through his heroism. On the other hand, Buddha became a god through his enlightenment. As such, Buddha’s enlightened state of mind was what allowed him to have enough wisdom to oppose the gods and fight for humanity.