Yes. Christian. You are right that one needs to understand Buddha Dhamma to really “see” the Buddha.
But looking into the background of the Buddha, before his Enlightenment, is important to many people.
– That is part of learning about Buddha Dhamma, especially for those who have not had much exposure to Buddha Dhamma.
– When I was growing up in Sri Lanka, we learned that background material in primary school.
I also came to realize the importance of this only recently. This also includes reading up on setting the “necessary background”: Moral living, giving to monks and poor, etc. I need to add more posts on that.
Another important aspect for some people who are practicing Buddhists is to follow some rituals like making offerings to the Buddha and recite the traditional recitals. Of course, one cannot get to Nibbana just by following rituals. But that may provide the necessary background to calm the mind and getting one ready for “formal meditation”, for example.
See, “Buddhist Chanting”
-In that respect, there are two types of people (with two major types of gati) who follow Buddha Dhamma. They are Dhammānusari and Saddhānusari.
– The first is more interested in the teachings.
– The second type of person needs the support of the “rituals” that I mentioned. Of course, they also will learn the teachings, but those “rituals” help them to set up the background.