Baha'i

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by Vajradhara, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    i've noticed that several members have recently joined that identify themselves as Baha'i.

    i realize that what i'm going to ask is quite broad and if you don't feel like responding, i would certainly understand.

    i've read about your tradition to some extent, however, i would always rather hear about it from someone that practices it.

    i realize that there are a few schools of Baha'i thought, so, if there are any specifics that would be a bit obscure at this point in time, please feel free to be brief :)

    if you don't mind, would you please list the "core" of your beliefs and teachings? broad, i know :) post what you think is relevant to begin a discussion and let's take it from there, what do you think?
     
  2. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    I have to admit, straight away, to having a naturally cynical reaction to Ba'hai - not least because of the founder "bodily ascending to Heaven". This in itself is not an uncommon motive of myth - you can see it in the death of the legendary founder of Rome, Romulus - as related by Livy - not to mention in the ascension of Elijah.

    Also I find the whole notion of regarding Heaven as a physical place of being extremely misguided. :)

    I've tried to read on Ba'hai, but it's often seemed a mixture of blatant propaganda (think of those JW leaflets and Watchtower, with pictures of world peace and happiness on every page), mixed in with an unhealthy dosage of personaility following.

    Of course, these are merely my personal concerns, and will in no way repersent any policy of this forum - I mark them simply as issues our Ba'hai friends may wish to address directly, should they wish to. :)
     
  3. Nogodnomasters

    Nogodnomasters Well-Known Member

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    I went to a Baha'i meeting in Denver many years back. They struck me as Unitarians on steriods in the way they accepted all religious beliefs.

    They claim religion and science do not contradict.
    I asked if they believed in "miracles", which they did. I pointed out that a miracle, by definition, has to break the laws of science to be a miracle and therefore incompatible with their beliefs.

    They asked me not to come back.
     
  4. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    Vajradhara wrote:
    I don't mind a bit. I will initially respond by listing the principles of the Baha'i Faith and then answer a couple of the questions that have been brought up by other respondents.

    The Principles of the Baha'i Faith:

    -The oneness of the world humanity
    -The foundation of all religion is one
    -Religion must be the cause of unity
    -Religion must be in accord with science and reason
    -Independent investigation of truth
    -Equality between men and women
    -The abolition of all forms of prejudice
    -Universal peace
    -Universal education
    -A universal auxiliary language
    -Spiritual solution of economic problems
    -An international tribunal

    Some other teachings:

    -We are created as noble and spiritual beings
    -The family is the foundation of human society
    -Marriage is a means for spiritual development of both partners
    -Consultation is a dynamic process for finding truth andfor solving conflicts and problems
    -Living a moral life has a direct influence on our spiritual happiness and development
    -The soul continues after death.

    Now to answer a couple of the questions/statements posed to Baha'is. Aaah, the misinformation of the misinformed.

    I, Brian wrote:
    Firstly, Brian, Baha'i is spelled just like that...Baha'i. It is a Persian word that means 'followers of God'. Baha means God or splendor and the apostrophe I means followers. If you searched for information for the Baha'i Faith using your spelling "Ba'hai", I am not sure what you would have found.

    I know what you wouldn't have found. You wouldn't have found any mention of Baha'u'llah ascending to heaven. I am not sure where you heard such nonsense, so am at a loss as to how to rebut it. It didn't happen, we don't believe it happened and we don't teach it happened.

    I, Brian wrote:
    Actually, same answer as the last one. Where did you get this stuff. Baha'u'llah has told us we are on a journey that is eternal. We do not think of Heaven as a "place" In fact, for the want of a better illustration, we sometimes explain Heaven as being as close to God as possible and Hell as being furthest from God as possible. Not in a physical sense, but in a spiritual sense. We are taught that we can nourish our soul through prayer, entreatment of God and good acts. As the soul strengthens from this nourishment, it guides us in our daily, minute by minute, and second by second decisions we make throughout our life. It is our soul that transcends to the next worlds and we are taught that the better nourished it is the higher the station it will be.

    I, Brian wrote:
    Yes we teach that world peace is possible and happiness is reachable. Is this a problem with you? Are these goals you find to be unattainable or you maybe are suggesting that as humans we don't deserve this? In fact, Baha'u'llah has told us in His writings that world peace is inevitable. He said "Whether peace is to be reached only after unimaginable horrors precipitated by humanity's stubborn clinging to old patterns of behavior, or is to be embraced now by an act of consultative will, is the choice before all who inhabit the earth."

    I apologize for the length of this post. I will repost with more answers.

    warmly,

    Mick
     
  5. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    Wow. Again, misinformation of the misinformed. First off, I have attended Unitarian meetings and, though I find them as a whole, very nice people, they don't seem to have a God belief, or it isn't a requirement of membership, and they seemed to be very political. Baha'is on the other hand do have a God belief and are apolitical. I don't understand how you chose that group to compare Baha'is with.

    Baha'u'llah told us that religion and science must go hand in hand. One is the study of the directions of God and the other is the study of what God created. He did not say that 'science and religion do not contradict.' Religion and religion contradict and science and science contradict. Now I will say that there are people of religion that disagree with scientists and that there are scientists that disagree with religionists, but that is from their ignorance not their knowledge.

    A good example would be the controversy surrounding creation/evolution. Anybody that would deny the existence of the evolutionary process, after the tons of research and study by scientists, that have truly taken this from a theory to an observable fact, is denying God's ability to create, even through evolution. Science is measurable and predictable because God created a measurable and predictable universe. Goodness, how else could it be.

    From the scientist viewpoint, however, the concept that a measurable and orderly world could only have come from happenstance, the inadvertant protoplasm coming to life after a maelstrom called the 'Big Bang' is denying all logic. How can order come from chaos? I have been told by those that try to hold this view, "It just does!" Yeah, and my mother wears bigger paratroop boots than your mother does. So there. It just doesn't make sense.

    Baha'u'llah told us, "If it is logical, it is of God. If it is illogical, it is of man. Science without religion is materialism and religion without science is mere superstition."

    Concerning miracles: If a miracle were to be performed, it would have to be by God. After all, it is His laws we are talking about. Baha'u'llah told us that miracles only are proof to those that have witnessed them and even some of these witnesses may doubt them. Probably most Baha'is believe in miracles, but in a different sense than you are suggesting. Not the parting of waters, or the invoking of lightening, but the miracles acheived by reverant individuals living a devout life in the mainstream of mankind, letting individuals know there is hope and that God has a plan and it is up to each one of us to find that plan.

    NoGodNoMasters, why were you asked not to come back. In the 25 years I have been a Baha'i, I have seen only one individual asked 'not to come back' In fact, the community asked me to be the one to deliver the message. The gentleman in question was quite virulent and at the last public meeting had become loud, threatening and had pulled a knife and brandished it around yelling this was the only answer to the ills of the world. He apologized, and told me that he had not been able to afford his medicine.

    If you have any other questions or statements concerning the Baha'i Faith, please feel free to ask.

    warmly,

    Mick
     
  6. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Mick, sincere thanks for the reasoned and considered reply, and thank you very much for addressing and correcting my statements. It is a little embarrassing that I knew so little that I even mis-spelled the name - and on top of which that the only aspects I thought I had read were completely wrong. I'm going to have to track down where I must have read such things.

    Oh - and a warm welcome to CR. :)
     
  7. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    I, Brian,

    I thank you for your warm welcome. There are thousands of sites on the internet one could gather information from on the Baha'i Faith. Sorry to say, some are erroneous either by design or ignorance. Two sites that are a good stepping stone into the Baha'i design, are www.bahai.org and www.us.bahai.org .

    Baha'u'llah told us that through self-investigation we will find the truths of God. This is why we accept the core message of most of the religions of the world. That is not to say we are suggesting that all religions are alike, as some people translate this statement to mean, but we believe that their is only one God and that God's message to mankind has been delivered to the masses through different Manifestations at different times in different cultures. Baha'u'llah called this the "Progressive Revelation of God."

    It is this progressive revelation that has allowed mankind to advance as a society and has put us on the threshhold of a new era. The principles that Baha'u'llah introduced in 1863, I mentioned in an earlier post, have already been accepted by most of the peoples of the world. Of course, we are now at a time of trying to learn to implement these principles and most people don't know the source of them. Many suggest they come from great thinkers and do not recognize that it is God's plan for us that they are implementing.

    Just dealing with the concept of an open forum, such as this one a hundred and fifty years ago, would have been unheard of. There wasn't cooperation within the Christian church, what more between totally differing religions. And yet, today, we are struggling to learn how to be accepting and abiding of other peoples views. And I think as a whole, the world is doing a pretty good job of it.

    Baha'u'llalh told us that we shouldn't be suspicious and fearful of our differences, but we should be curious and rejoiceful. He said we should celebrate in our differences. In fact, I am not sure if you have heard this little catch phrase, "Unity in diversity", but that comes from the Baha'i Writings and is enjoined by every one of the 7 million plus Baha'is world wide.

    Again, I thank you for your warm welcome,

    warmly,

    Mick
     
  8. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste mick,

    thank you for the informitive posts :) and welcome to the forum.

    by the by... what you've described is not the Big Bang theory.. nor any theory of cosmology that i'm famaliar with...

    though we can disucss this further in the science area if you'd like.
     
  9. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste mick,

    a few general questions about the information you've posted, if you don't mind.

    1. you say that your journey is an eternal one. does your tradition posit rebirth or reincarnation?

    2. is "consultation" a type of mediumship or method of penence? this sounds like it is a dialog between an adherent and a "priest". is this what you call the religious hierarchy?

    3. if religion disagrees with science and reason, what is one supposed to do with the teaching?

    4. when you say that the foundation of all religion is one, do you mean to indicate all monotheistic traditions, all theistic traditions, all non-theisitic traditions or all traditions in general.

    this should do for now :)
     
  10. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    Vajradhara, You call these questions 'general', I call them 'great'.

    There is a wonderful answer to your question in a document called Some Answered Questions... 'Abdu'l-Baha . I don't feel I would do it proper to try to summarize it. 'Abdu'l-Baha was the son of Baha'u'llah and after the passing of Baha'u'llah, His will and testament told the believers to turn to 'Abdu'l-Baha to learn to live the life. He is known as the Exemplar. This document is a series of short treatises that were transcribed over a period of time at the supper table. The question of reincarnation is covered very well in treatise #81. If you would care to go to http://www.ibiblio.org/Bahai/Texts/EN/SAQ/ you may read it and then we can discuss the material. It is somewhat lengthy, a couple of pages long, so I probably shouldn't copy/paste it here, though I will if people think it is ok.

    Suffice it to say, that, yes, in a sort we do believe in reincarnation, but since the word has different meanings to different individuals, it would be best to read the whole treatise.

    Well, now, let me first say that we have no ministry or priests in the Baha'i Faith. It is why we are required to investigate for ourselves for the truth and Baha'u'llah gave us the principle of compulsory education.
    Consultation is between 2 or more individuals that are looking for a truth. It is a great problem solving technique that is used by many outside of the Faith. We are told that each of us must with dignity and kindness share our thoughts and ideas without fear of ridicule. Once we have offered these thoughts to the forum, they become the property of all the participants of the consultation. Therefore, we do not feel a need to defend our ideas. We are told that through the clash of opinions, truth will be forthcoming.

    We believe there is only one truth, so the final conclusion typically will be close to this truth. Many times it is not very popular with some of the participants or sometimes even the majority, but the truth becomes so apparant, that it would become difficult to deny. It is similar to what we are doing here in an open forum, without the chance of continuous flow of ideas and opinions. We are also told it should be approached in a prayerful manner to be most effective and in this type of forum that again is up to the participant.

    This could be a tough question to answer without causing somebody distress. I hope I don't and apologize ahead of time to anybody I may offend. If you are dealing with a question that science and your religion are directly opposed, then it is time for you to investigate fully and search for the truth. You may find that neither are acceptable, as we mentioned in an earlier post concerning evolution/creationism. You may find that your religion seems out-moded or old-fashioned, which it may or may not be...remember Progressive Revelation. You may find the scientist point of view is just not provable or measurable and you cannot accept it based on a "...we think this is how it works..." statement.

    As individuals, we must be able to investigate our religion and recognize dogma (church doctrine) from truths of God. If it is dogma, then surely it could go against the sciences, the study of what God created. If it is "truths of God", then the explanation could be that science doesn't know enough yet for their theories to be acceptable.

    Yep, you are going to have to use your rational mind and the logic God gave you to resolve the issue. We believe that God gave us logic so we could know Him. Anything that is illogical is of man and anything that is logical is of God.

    No. Religion and tradition are two different cups of tea. Religion is the organized and directed recognition of God's message and will. Tradition would seem to relate to past practices, which could or could not have relevance. I remember a story about a newlywed in the US that was being instructed on how to cook a ham for a family dinner. Mother-in-law said you must always cut the ends off of the ham before cooking. When the daughter-in-law asked why, the mother-in-law said that is the way my mother did it. This was not enough answer for the daughter-in-law, so mother-in-law called her mother and asked her why they had always cut the end of the ham before cooking it. The mother told her she had to or it wouldn't fit in her pan. This is a tradition.

    Baha'u'llah told us all the religions of God source from the same God. After all there is only one God and in some religions a large supporting cast. But particularly we recognize the Manifestations (and their message) that founded these religions. They are Abraham, Moses, Krshna, The Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus of Nazereth, Muhammed, The Bab and Baha'u'llah. We are told there could be others that mankind have forgotten. It is why we use a nine-pointed star to represent the Baha'i Faith. It is why all of our Houses of Worship have nine sides. It is why our Assemblies are made up of nine individuals. Maybe this seems like symbolism working overtime, but it is a constant reminder to us that God has had a plain since Adam and that His plan is eternal.

    Hope I have answered your questions. If not please ask away.

    warmly,

    Mick
     
  11. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste mick,

    thank you once more for the thoughtful replies.

    i shall read your link and then we can discuss more pointedly the concepts of rebirth or reincarnation in your tradition, such as they are. i concur with your reservations about the usage of the word "reincarnation" or "rebirth" as those mean different things... at least to my traditions point of view.

    by the by... i refer to them as traditions as opposed "religions" as the word "religion" has a rather tenuous meaning for some people. moreover, some individuals use the word "religion" to denote their tradition even though it may be devoid of a "God belief".

    in any event... on to the questions :)

    1. you said that there is no ministry or preisthood within your tradition, is there a person or group of individuals that represent a guiding council or a "governing body" for resolving disputes amongst adherents?

    2. is the "one truth" that you believe in an absolute truth or a relative truth? in other words, is this a spiritual truth or an ontological truth.. or perhaps, a combination of the two?

    3. Progressive Revelation is a strange thing to me... some monotheistic traditions posit such a thing however, most of them do not. it's not that the concept of progressive understanding is alien to me, rather, its the rather disconcertedness of the whole thing that creates pause within. Progressive Revelation, when taken to its logical conclusion, would lead one to the idea that the information that they have to work with, vis a vie God, is not complete or accurate. as you can imagine, for many monothesitic traditions, this is heresy. hmm... i guess that wasn't much of a question after all.

    4. well... needless to say, i'd have to dispute the assertion of the historical Buddha being included as a messenger of any god, let alone God, but we can leave that aside for now. however... seeing as we are on the topic, albeit obtusely, does your tradition have anything resembling the Law of Karma?

    ok... i've just read the link you've provided.... thank you for the information.

    my first question is this... are those postings the "official" position of your faith tradition or are they the opinons of an adherent?

    by and large, i would agree with the assessments of the various forms of reincarnation that are talked about, though i would disagree with the implication of a "spiritual" being that indwells within. moreover, there is ample evidence that Judaism does, indeed, have an esoteric tradition of reincarnation... so, in this sense... Elijah is John.. not simply a manifesting of his (Elijah's) qualities.

    but no matter.... i eagerly await your reply.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2003
  12. Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine Junior Moderator, Intro Moderator

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    Zdrastvuitsye, hola, shalom, salaam, Dia dhuit, namastar ji, hej, konnichiwa, squeak, meow, :wave:, Mick.

    You mention that the number nine is significant to your religion. I fear I'm about to ask a stupid question concerning your faith: has the number nine become a "mystical" number, such as the numbers 18, 36 and 72 in Judaism (18 representing the word "life", the number 36 signifying the number of "tzaddikim" and 72 for another reason that I can't quite remember from a seperate post)?

    Sorry about this. :eek:

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
     
  13. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    namaste all,

    mick,

    you specifically list the Buddha as one of the Prophets, however, in the link that i'm reading http://www.ibiblio.org/Bahai/Texts/EN/SAQ/SAQ-43.html it clearly refutes this.

    moreover, it goes on to further mischaracterize and to even boldy predict that the Buddhadharma is dead. nothing could be father from the truth, at least from the Buddhist persepective :) worshipping statues indeed. :confused:

    this is something that i've seen that is often misunderstood and mischaracterized and i really shouldn't be surprised that i find it here as well. inexplicably, i had rather thought that it wouldn't be the case with the Baha'i faith. eh... who knew?

    perhaps, you did not realize that Buddha and Confucious were both cast in the same mold in your tradition?

    though... i did not see Lao Tzu mentioned one way or the other... which is interesting to me as i incorporate many aspects of the Taoist praxis into my practice.
     
  14. IMSassafras

    IMSassafras A Believer

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    Allah'u'Abha (God is most Glorious), Phyllis

    Not a stupid question. Baha'u'llah was a Persian and the Persians were great numerologists. For those interested, there is quite a history of the numerology of the Baha'i Faith. This, of course, has interest only to those that prescribe in numerology. They are not required learning to other adherents. There is really nothing mystical about the Baha'i Faith, in either its belief system or in its practice. We have no rituals or secret handshakes, as well as no ministry or priesthood.

    We do have laws that help us to live the life. One of these is to recite an obligatory prayer daily. Others concern marriage, divorce and guidelines concerning the use of alcohol, lying, backbiting, gambling, drug abuse, adultry and promiscuity.

    Bahai's strive to uphold a high moral standard. Baha'u'llah stressed the importance of honesty, trustworthiness, chastity, service to others, purity of motive, generosity, deeds over words, unity and works as a form of worship.

    Hope all is well

    warmly

    Mick
     
  15. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    Phyllis,

    I apologize to you. I inadvertly posted in my wife's name. I will be more careful in the future (as she is beating on the head with an eraser)

    Mick
     
  16. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    Vajradhara,

    Thank you for this welcome. I apologize for not seeing this post earlier. Would you share with me the thread name that you mentioned above. I would like to discuss it more. I am sure you can enlighten me on a topic I admit to be less than knowledgeable.

    Mick
     
  17. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    Vajradhara

    You wrote:
    'Abdu'l-Baha stated the following in this treatise, "The Manifestations of universal Prophethood Who appeared independently are, for example, Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muhammad, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh." He listed these Manifestations as an example not all inclusive. In fact, as you noticed he actually dealt with the question of the Buddha later quite extensively. Remember these were very short essays, verbally given and transcribed. I use this tome for quick reference, but others for more detailed research. That website has most of the Writings of The Bab, Baha'u'llah, and 'Abdu'l-Baha. There is also a search function that will allow you to find specific topics

    I apologize but I am not familiar with the Buddhadharma. Could you explain? Dharma...is this the Spirit of Buddha? If this is what you are saying, then, no that is not what 'Abdu'l-Baha was saying at all. I will wait for your reply to expound.

    I suggest 'Abdu'l-Baha was making reference to the peoples that display large Buddha's and leave foodstuff, flowers and cover with gold leaf as a display of worship. I am not sure how else one would see these practices. I am sure there are wide and varying practices by Buddhist adherents and I am not suggesting that you are worshipping an idol. There is great respect in the Baha'i community for the Guatama Buddha, though most of the time we see the role of the Buddha differently than many of the followers of His teachings.

    .
    I suggest that we are still in the early stage of discussion. Oh, please, don't show disappointment so soon. I am, perhaps, not able to answer your questions well.

    No, I am not aware of this. Again, let me say the Some Answered Questions is a great starting out document but it is terse and does not dwell deeply in most subjects.

    I wish I could expound more on the Eastern traditions, but,alas, I am not real studied in these areas. I have met many Baha'is that are, though,and some come from these same traditions. I know some that discuss Tao ideologies and would probably also incorporate them into their lives. We believe the Truths of God can be found whereever we look. The source isn't as important as the application.

    Very enjoyable to share with such a spiritual individual.

    warmly,

    Mick
     
  18. Mick

    Mick World Citizen

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    Vajardhara,

    I may someday get the hang of this forum. It is a great format, but I keep messing it up. I should have answered this post first. Please forgive me.

    We do have a Baha'i Administrative Order. It starts with the Local Spiritual Assembly. The Assembly is formed every April 21 wherever 9 or more adult Baha'is reside. They look over the spiritual well being of the community and will use the consultative will of the assembly to resolve disputes between the followers. I sat on an assembly for many years, and surprisingly we used this consultation practice to resolve disputes between non-Baha'is more than between Baha'is. The Assembly is formed through a secret ballot election. There are no nominations or people offering themselves for service. We simply write down the names of the 9 most luminous individuals in the community and whomever receives the most votes, become Local Spiritual Assembley members.

    We also have a convention once a year within a district. We spend a day in consultation, prayer, and fellowship and choose a representative to attend a national convention, where 9 luminous individuals will eventually be chosen to sit on the National Spiritual Assembly. Once every five years the National Assemblies of the World meet and they chose 9 luminous individuals from the world as a whole to sit on the Universal House of Justice, which is located in Haifa, Israel on Mount Carmel.

    Believe me when I say we have no ministry or Priests. We are all asked to teach this Great Cause through the way we live our life and by responding to questions. We do have a direction warning us against proselytizing. We are told to become attracters, by the way we live, speak and interact with mankind.

    You, my friend, are a wordsmith, which I appreciate, but struggle with myself. I had to look up ontological and yes, I would say perhaps a combination of the two. In the Progressive Revelation of God, what once was an absolute truth, could become a relative truth. In the Christian religion, Paul gave directions to slaves as well as slave owners. This could be construed as an absolute truth of the acceptance of slavery. It today is a relative truth, for the time and the absolute truth is the oneness of mankind. This Revelation of God is absolute today, but in the future as new Manifestations reveal themselves, they could become relative. Regardless, the absolutes of God are recognizable in their simplicity and their rightness.

    If a religion told you it would be ok to steal so you would have more to donate to their cause, this would be easily recognizable as a falsehood and not of God. If a religion told you that by praying in a certain manner and reciting certain words, you will be rewarded in some other life, this too would be easy to question and say, why? If they told you that through prayer and meditation, you develop your soul and this will affect how you live your life, you may say, yes this is a direction of God. It makes sense and in its simplicity gives ourselves as well as mankind a better existance.

    But a thoughtful moment? Yes. In fact, by definition, Progressive Revelation suggests that it is not complete, but in the future, more will be revealed as mankind can assimilate it. Jesus of Nazereth said, "I have many things to share with you, you cannot bear...", because mankind was not ready for it at that time.

    Baha'u'llah told the people of Persia and Iraq that there would come a day when mankind would speak to each other within a matter of seconds and visit each other in a matter of hours, so it is necessary to have an auxiallary language so that we can communicate. You can imagine in 1863, this had little meaning to them. Yet, we can see the need as we write on this forum and the travel industry has managed to put almost anyplace within our reach within a matter of hours.

    Would you be so kind as to explain the law of Karma? Does this have to do with fate or predestination?

    'Abdu'l-Baha is the son of Baha'u'llah. When Baha'u'llah passed away in 1892, he told the followers to turn to 'Abdu'l-Baha to learn to live the life. He is called the Exemplar. His writings are considered translations and explanations of the writings of Baha'u'llah and The Bab. They are short treatises that were transcribed from talks he did around the supper table. We don't see them as complete, but we do see them as accurate.

    Thankyou for your kind assessments,

    warmly,

    Mick
     
  19. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Mick,

    we're just getting going on the thread:

    http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=565
     
  20. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Mick,

    thank you for the response. don't worry, you're getting the hang of it just fine :)




    indeed... i took them to be representative samples, however, he specifically talks about the historical Buddha and Confucious in the link that i referenced above. to sum up, his assessment of them is, in my opinon, incorrrect. not least of which is because Confucious or Kung Fu-tze as he was known before the missionaries arrived, didn't create a religion. he created a social paradigm to revitalized the social contract of the nation. remember, he and Lao-tzu (not to mention Lu Bei, Li Er, Chang-tzu et al) were running around during a period of Chinese history called the Warring States Period. eh... we can talk ancient Chinese history some other time though :)

    buddhadharma is the truth of the Buddhas teaching. it is, in essence the "mind seal" of the teachings that are passed non-verbally from teacher to student. in a general sense, the term Buddhadharma represents the totality of the teachings of the Buddha, all three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma.

    in Buddhism, the spirit is negated.. we do not hold there to be such a thing. we hold consciousness to be the analog of the spirit or soul as posited in those traditions that have them.

    yes, this is what i was referring to as well. let me provide a modern example. when people visit Elvis' house in Memphis and lay wreaths or flowers or other things at his gate, people do not mistakenly assume that these individuals are worshipping Elvis. they presume that these individuals are deeply moved by Elvis and are offering something as a token of their respect.

    this is similar to the methodology of the Buddhist community using statues of Buddha or Avelokiteshavara or what have you. the Buddhists engaged in this aspect of practice may outwardly appear to be "worshipping" the Buddha, but this is a misunderstanding of what is going on. These individuals are very greatful that the historical Buddha, Guatama, revealed the Path of Liberation and are simply paying respect to a worthy teacher.

    as an aside... there is a vast difference in the way that a western mind preceives these things and an eastern mind. a quick example, that of the guru.

    fair enough :)


    the pleasure is mine. i am always very appreciative when someone can explain what they believe and why in a manner that others can understand.

    by the by... which of the Baha'i schools do you follow?
     

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