What is the Baha'i message in simple words?

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by RJM, Aug 7, 2022.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    8,779
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Of course yoga and other spiritual 'paths' are not the same thing as religions -- which imply dedicated places of worship and prayers and community gatherings, etc?
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2022
  2. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    3,439
    Likes Received:
    1,865
    Absolutely, and Buddhism has ample opportunity for community functions.

    I was specifically pointing out how the core of buddhism - those aspects all the radically differing schools and sects can agree on, namely the four noble truths, the noble eightfold path, the five moral precepts, the triple gem - are actually designed for the homeless ascetic, not the community of householders. At its core, Buddhism is a religion by and for social drop-outs, and the community of mendicant monastics are still the living embodyment of buddhist ideals.

    I know that Baha'i scripture includes Buddhism among the revealed "true" faiths which maybe got corrupted a bit over the millennia, but as someone who is familiar with both the Abrahamic and the Dharmic groups of traditions, I am of the opinion that the Baha'i understanding of Buddhism has nothing to do with the reality and history of Buddhism.

    My 2 cents.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2022
    RJM likes this.
  3. 'Amir Alzzalam

    'Amir Alzzalam Šayṭānist

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2022
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    152
    Perhaps, although 'religion' itself provides a sense of community what they understand as 'self-improvement' will probably differ from faith to faith. One man's 'virtue' is another man's 'vice'. As for 'strong families and communities' . . . explain that to the millions of families that have been decimated because of religion, the communities plundered and conquered.

    Nah . . . most faiths are the bane of freedom and stifle spiritual freedom.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    12,292
    Likes Received:
    2,581
    From a Christian perspective, I rather think not, nor for Judaism. The core of faith is the belief in God – for example, the Christian creeds. The practice of virtue is a necessary component, but not the core.

    The Golden Rule, as stated before, is universal, and finds its way into many sacred texts for that very reason. For instance, the first three commandments of the Decalogue are specific to Jewish belief, the remaining seven are generic and found in law codes throughout the region.

    Some might argue that Jesus gave the commandment, 'love thy neighbour' (cf John 13:34) but His command was specific: "That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another."

    He calls this 'a new command' yet the injunction to 'love thy neighbour' is written in the Hebrew Scriptures (Leviticus 19:18), so here Jesus' command is quite specific and refers to Himself – and His self-sacrifice – as the exemplar.
     
  5. 'Amir Alzzalam

    'Amir Alzzalam Šayṭānist

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2022
    Messages:
    435
    Likes Received:
    152
    Didn't Buddha-dude start his Buddha-ness by abandoning his wife and family to sit under a tree?
     
  6. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    8,779
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    Perhaps the services and offices and scriptures of my own religion remind me back to the true spiritual dimension when the natural world gets on top of me. But my personal relationship with the spiritual dimension is not dependent on the patterns and rituals of my own religion. It is perhaps an interface -- but of course my own particular religion is never going to be the only interface with the spiritual dimension, even for me, and let alone for everyone else too?

    Does that all make sense?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
    'Amir Alzzalam likes this.
  7. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    306
    I have read some amazing papers online about Baha'i and Buddhist thought.

    I would highly recommend the following paper since you think "the Baha'i understanding of Buddhism has nothing to do with the reality and history of Buddhism":


    The author's CV is no joke.

    The idea that Baha'i understanding of Buddhism as expressed in its academic circles has nothing to do with the reality and history of Buddhism is unfounded. It's only Cino's biased opinion.

    There are Baha'is that have also spent their academic careers understanding other religions on a deeper level, and I provided Cino with an example above. Are you saying it is fair for us to wave the hand and dismiss Baha'is for their dedication to these studies because they are Baha'is?

    Of course I have more to learn. We all do.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2022
    Tone Bristow-Stagg likes this.
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    22,764
    Likes Received:
    2,490
    Aren't we all? Seems a number of countries have had this issue...including both of ours.

    Notoriously fanatics in any religion favor it...but only if it is their religion.

    I don't think anyone has to worry about the bahai taking over for a few hundred years... I think Christianity had a bigger start and it took a while before we started into serious conquering....

    And now looking back on it historically our missionaries may have expanded the ranks by violence and coercion but did not do the converts or religion any favors...

    A peaceful approach Jesus tried...but his followers not so much.
     
    RJM likes this.
  9. Tone Bristow-Stagg

    Tone Bristow-Stagg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Messages:
    762
    Likes Received:
    209
    One core element is all that was needed. I was not meant to say it was the only core element..

    Regards Tony
     
  10. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    3,439
    Likes Received:
    1,865
    My point exactly, as explained above. Buddhism was founded by a homeless social drop-out spiritual seeker, as a way of life for others like him.
     
    'Amir Alzzalam likes this.
  11. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    3,439
    Likes Received:
    1,865
    "Only"? Heh. Those pesky atheists who insist on reading the world's scriptures. What do they even know.
     
    'Amir Alzzalam likes this.
  12. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    3,439
    Likes Received:
    1,865
    Sorry for the sarcasm, @Ahanu, that was not called for.

    Regarding the luminosity of phenomena, in some Buddhist texts, yes, the similarities with Muslim or Baha'i or Christian or Jewish mystical writings are astounding!

    But - without having read the article you linked to, and subject to revision if I don't read there what I now think I will: The descriptions of mystical states of mind are common to most traditions because, when a practitioner does the exercises of training the mind, such mind states are the expected result. It seems to be hard-wired into human minds. Now one can draw many conclusions from this, theistic and atheist ones alike, but I can't really see how such convergent results of mental discipline would imply that the core beliefs of the various religions must be the same.

    To me, it would be like claiming that because if a Muslim and a Scientologist both get the same results from pumping weights diligently, tbeir core beliefs must be the same.

    Again, just going by the title of the paper. I'll give it a read tomorrow.
     
    Longfellow and Ahanu like this.
  13. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    306
    That's right.

    I am definitely not saying you do not have anything valuable to add to religious discourse. Anybody - no matter what their background is - can contribute.

    But you obviously have not read Baha'i academic papers on the subject to make such a broad-sweeping pronouncement.

    Why do you think Christianity had a bigger start?

    The idea of Baha'i "taking over" is easy to discredit. Take over: "seize and take control without authority and possibly with force; take as one's right or possession." Actually, it's entirely democratic. I'm sorry to quote, but I feel it is important here to quote from the Universal House of Justice to refute such an opinion:

     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
    Tone Bristow-Stagg likes this.
  14. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    3,439
    Likes Received:
    1,865
    No, but I am a mystic. I studied with a Buddhist meditation master. I did the work, and my practice has yielded certain fruits.

    I will read the paper you linked. Maybe I will change my mind regarding what I consider a serious misrepresentation of Buddhism in the writings of the Baha'i founders. We shall see.

    By the way, I have yet to meet an actual live Baha'i mystic. Many believers have recommended the Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys, and I agree they are mystical texts - but no Baha'i I have ever interacted with has done anything remotely like what it takes to speak about the luminous mind or the self-evident luminosity of phenomena with anything approaching personal experience.

    Mystical texts are very hard to grasp if one has no teacher and no personal experience to correlate the descriptions with. In and of themselves, they are worse than incomprehensible, they are positively misleading. Take the Tablet of the Wondrous Maiden. It's impossible to translate if the translator has not had personal acquaintance with the phenomena described in it.

    I understand that the Baha'i faith has no clergy or teachers. I have a hunch this could explain the rarity of Baha'i mystics, and the great difficulty in translating many of the most impactful texts.

    I offer this my opinion in the hope that you will take it as feedback on my experience interacting with Baha'i believers, and not as a personal attack or an attack on your faith.
     
  15. Tone Bristow-Stagg

    Tone Bristow-Stagg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2021
    Messages:
    762
    Likes Received:
    209
    I see that as a sad statement about Buddha.

    I am happy that the Baha'i writings show us that Buddha was a Manifestation of God.

    Regards Tony
     
  16. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    3,439
    Likes Received:
    1,865
    That's great!

    The Buddha's story, as told by the Buddhist traditions, did end on a happy note! He ended up discovering the happiness not dependent on conditions, that he was seeking, and started teaching his methods to fellow seekers, founding the Buddhist monastic order.

    Edited to add:

    Sorry for having taken up so much space outlining my thoughts on Buddhism and its reception by the Baha'i faith.

    You mentioned that the Buddha is viewed as a manifestation of God in your faith. I have seen Baha'is quoting from Jewish, Christian and Muslim texts. Are there Buddhist texts you like, and which ones are they? (and I still have to read that paper linked to by Ahanu, I expext to find some references there).
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
  17. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    8,779
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    I don't think that would be fair. I'm not dismissing the Baha'i faith. I'm addressing questions about the 'One World, One Religion' tenet. I'm trying to learn. And trying to reconcile the apparent difficulty of at the same time accepting and honouring other ancient religions?

    (edited)
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
  18. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2016
    Messages:
    8,779
    Likes Received:
    2,054
    As stated, I believe the individual religion is the interface*. God meets me where I am -- any religion. I'm not too sure about equating a religion with a community benefit organisation, although most religions and churches obviously do try to do good where they can

    *Different codes, different music
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
    Craz likes this.
  19. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2018
    Messages:
    3,439
    Likes Received:
    1,865
    Unless they want to inherit anything from their Baha'i parents, that is?
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    12,292
    Likes Received:
    2,581
    Yes, but to be fair, it seems those paths were offered before Baha'u'llah?

    I don't man to labour the point, but if the Baha'i are working towards unity of all faiths, then it's a shame they declared the core principles of Christianity – Incarnation and Trinity – as heresy. By so doing the Baha'i have alienated the most part of the Christian world.

    Had there been an acceptance of difference and distinction, without laying claim to correct or complete, then there would have been a greater possibility of finding a common ground.

    (Regarding non-Trinitarian Christians, it has to be said that most (if not all?) denominations emerged in the United States in relatively recent history.)

    While there are heresies that go back into antiquity, such as Sabellianism, Arianism and Docetism, these were still trinitarian beliefs in general, but erred in the particular?

    In light of a fruitful dialogue, are there Baha'i theological writings on the nature of the Divine? How do the Baha'i approach the age-old question of the One-ness and simplicity of the Divine, and the multiplicity of the world? How, from the One, indivisible Essence, does creation arise?
     
    Cino and RJM like this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page