The Baha'i Faith

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Presto Kensho
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The Baha'i Faith

Post by Presto Kensho »

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This is the Persian teacher Bahaullah. He claimed to be the promised Maitreya of Buddhism as well as the avatar of the age promised in Hinduism.

Bahais, the followers of Bahaullah, chant the name of God like a mantra, Allahuabha. There are more Bahais in India than in any other country. Their main temple in India is shaped like a giant lotus.

The name Allahuabha means God the All-glorious. The root word Abha is also found in the Buddhist deity Amitabha, which means infinite light.

I am impressed by the similarities of Buddhism and Hinduism with Baha'i faith, and how its founder spent the last decades of his life in prison for refusing to recant as a modern prophet.

Rather than accepting reincarnation, Bahais believe that we are reborn into higher and higher spiritual worlds in our path to God-realization:
Bahá'í Faith rejects the notion of reincarnation and instead offers a far-reaching belief system that acknowledges God’s love for man and his companionship as the purpose behind his creation.

The first stage in the spiritual progress of man starts with his birth, is enriched with acquisition of virtues and noble qualities in his earthly life, and this process continues throughout the limitless spiritual worlds of God eternally…

Man’s spirit is regarded as God’s supreme talisman, traversing the innumerable spiritual worlds, each full of unconditional love and boundless grace, towards the court of His presence…

Thus, there remains no reason for man’s spirit to return to this netherworld and become attached to a plant, animal or even another human body.

After its severance from the human body, the human spirit, with its acquired virtues and God’s unique unique gift of free will, will soar and journey through the expanse of never-ending spiritual worlds, gaining an ever-greater measure of bounties and grace, and becoming ever worthier of His companionship.
http://bahai-library.com/bayat_reincarn ... lds_faiths
The similarities between Bahai faith and Indian religions, for the most part, seem to be coincidental. Bahaullah was raised Shiite Muslim in modern-day Iran, and had no contact with Indian religions.
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DNS
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

Post by DNS »

I liked the Bahais at one time, a long time ago, but felt in the end they were just trying to make a one world religion by combining bits and pieces from all of them. It's not a bad idea and might help create world peace, but is it true? There are some religions which have concepts that are quite contradictory and are not compatible. Just my opinion, but I still like them.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

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I've been to the shrine of the Bab at Haifa, Israel; when I lived there many years ago.

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Presto Kensho
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

Post by Presto Kensho »

DNS wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:17 pm I liked the Bahais at one time, a long time ago, but felt in the end they were just trying to make a one world religion by combining bits and pieces from all of them. It's not a bad idea and might help create world peace, but is it true? There are some religions which have concepts that are quite contradictory and are not compatible. Just my opinion, but I still like them.
Baha'is try to welcome people from all religions, but the substance of their teachings and practices seem to be more drawn from Sufi Islam than anything else, though Baha'is don't follow Muslim dietary laws.

In the scriptures and prayers written by Bahaullah, one can see that Baha'i faith is more than just a hodgepodge of the world's various religions.

I have always been more drawn to the life of the Buddha than to the teachings ascribed to him.

Baha'is teach that the Buddha was an avatar or divine manifestation, and that Buddhist teachings like nontheism and rebirth (into this world) were not originally taught by him.

Baha'is believe that Bahaullah, as the promised Maitreya, restored the Buddha's original teachings.

The concept of avatars isn't entirely foreign to Sufism:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qutb
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

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I am reading the Seven Valleys, which is acclaimed as Bahaullah's most mystical work, and it draws extensively from the Koran and the Sufi tradition:
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/16986

Here is a passage that seems similar to the concept of moksha or nirvana, but is actually inspired by Sufism:
For when the true lover and devoted friend reacheth to the presence of the Beloved, the sparkling beauty of the Loved One and the fire of the lover’s heart will kindle a blaze and burn away all veils and wrappings. Yea, all he hath, from heart to skin, will be set aflame, so that nothing will remain save the Friend.
One might even call Bahaullah a reformer of Sufism, aside from the fact that he placed bringing people together from all religions and races above Muslim dietary laws and customs.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

Post by Presto Kensho »

DNS wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:19 pm I've been to the shrine of the Bab at Haifa, Israel; when I lived there many years ago.

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What did it feel like being there? Did you visit the tomb of Bahaullah as well? What made you not want to follow the Bahai faith, other than perceived similarities to other religions?
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

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Here is a famous quote from the prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him):
No one will enter Paradise in whose heart is an atom’s weight of arrogance and no one will enter Hell in whose heart is an atom’s weight of faith.
The above quote makes sense if, as taught by Bahaullah, there are numerous spiritual worlds we must traverse between our world and the ultimate presence of God.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

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Presto Kensho wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:14 am What did it feel like being there?
Very peaceful, beautiful landscaping.
Did you visit the tomb of Bahaullah as well?


I think so, don't remember for sure, I was a teenager at the time.
What made you not want to follow the Bahai faith, other than perceived similarities to other religions?
Yes, primarily the piecing together of the various world religions, even those at odds with each other in terms of doctrine.

Also, the Bab, who was the forerunner of Bahai religion and Bahaullah, claimed to be the 12th Imam / Mahdi, the messianic prophet described in Shia Islam. It was only when he was rejected for that claim that he then created a new religion.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

Post by Presto Kensho »

DNS wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:14 am
Presto Kensho wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:14 am What did it feel like being there?
Very peaceful, beautiful landscaping.
Did you visit the tomb of Bahaullah as well?


I think so, don't remember for sure, I was a teenager at the time.
What made you not want to follow the Bahai faith, other than perceived similarities to other religions?
Yes, primarily the piecing together of the various world religions, even those at odds with each other in terms of doctrine.

Also, the Bab, who was the forerunner of Bahai religion and Bahaullah, claimed to be the 12th Imam / Mahdi, the messianic prophet described in Shia Islam. It was only when he was rejected for that claim that he then created a new religion.
The Bab claimed to be the forerunner of the Mahdi, in the same way that John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus.

The Bab was persecuted for, among other reasons, believing that Muslim dietary laws are no longer relevant for today.

After the Bab was killed, his follower, Bahaullah, claimed to be the promised one the Bab had foretold, as well as the eschatological figure of all the major religions.

While Bahai faith hopes to bring the various world religions together in peace, it's actual teachings and practices, if you read the writings of Bahaullah, are more drawn from Sufism than anything else.

By the way, religious syncretism is very common to the history of Buddhism, not just Bahai faith.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

Post by Presto Kensho »

One can be a Baha'i and a lover of Meher Baba at the same time.

This is because Meher Baba did not seek to overthrow any organized religion, and he encouraged his followers to recite any name of God they saw fit, which would include Allah'u'abha, the name chanted in Baha'i faith.

Both Meher Baba and Baha'u'llah were also of Persian descent and both drew heavily from Sufism. Meher Baba even recognized the Bab, the forerunner of Baha'u'llah, as a qutb or spiritual master.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

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This story is from when Meher Baba visited Iran, the native home of his parents, as well as of the Baha'i faith:
A significant incident occurred when an important leader of the Bahai sect arrived by airplane from Shiraz. His purpose in coming was to question Baba; but when he saw the Master and felt his divine radiation, he prostrated himself at Baba's feet, crying, 'You are God!' As he rushed out through the crowd, he proclaimed: 'I have seen God!'

In this recognition of Baba's spiritual status, he was revealing his own high development, since God can only be recognized by one in whom God is awakened. He was also exemplifying the teaching of the great Bahai Founders — to acknowledge God wherever one finds him.
https://www.avatarmeherbaba.org/erics/yezdbam.html
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

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Too much worldly ambition for my taste. Their Constitution is a mix of universal brotherhood rooted in theocratic authoritarian mandates.
They appear to not only wish to "guide" humanity, but consider it a divine mission. A motive that Islam & Xtianity also share.
Their "divinely appointed" leaders remind me of the council of 12 running the Mormon religion, which is also highly organized.

https://universalhouseofjustice.bahai.o ... se-justice
May all seek, find and follow the Path of Buddhas.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

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From their Constitution:
V. THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

The Universal House of Justice shall consist of nine men who have been elected from the Bahá’í community in the manner hereinafter provided.
And I have heard from some Bahais that this does not mean "mankind" but specifically men only. For a fairly new religion, it's not very woke. :tongue:
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

Post by Presto Kensho »

DNS wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:56 pm From their Constitution:
V. THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

The Universal House of Justice shall consist of nine men who have been elected from the Bahá’í community in the manner hereinafter provided.
And I have heard from some Bahais that this does not mean "mankind" but specifically men only. For a fairly new religion, it's not very woke. :tongue:
Why would a religion, founded over a hundred years ago in the Middle East, need to follow contemporary Western leftist sensibilities?

Let's not forget that, according to traditional Theravadin teachings, only a male can become a buddha.
Last edited by Presto Kensho on Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

Post by Presto Kensho »

Nicholas wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 1:51 pm Too much worldly ambition for my taste. Their Constitution is a mix of universal brotherhood rooted in theocratic authoritarian mandates.
They appear to not only wish to "guide" humanity, but consider it a divine mission. A motive that Islam & Xtianity also share.
Their "divinely appointed" leaders remind me of the council of 12 running the Mormon religion, which is also highly organized.

https://universalhouseofjustice.bahai.o ... se-justice
I don't think that the Universal House of Justice which overseas the Bahai faith is any more cause for alarm than the tulku system and other Buddhist hierarchies. At least the UHJ doesn't claim to be made up of enlightened beings in any sort of way, as far as I know.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

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Presto Kensho wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:08 am Why would a religion, founded over a hundred years ago in the Middle East, need to follow contemporary Western leftist sensibilities?
Because about 150 years ago is not that long ago, in comparison to the very old religions of Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, etc. And it's not "Western leftist" to believe women are capable of awakening, holding clergy positions and other positions of authority and power. Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher and many others were conservative women from well over 50 years ago. The Queen of England is perhaps the most famous monarch in recent history and has been on the throne for over 68 years and she's certainly conservative; i.e., not leftist.
Let's not forget that, according to traditional Theravadin teachings, only a male can become a buddha.
True, but then that's at least a 2500 year old religion and it is referring to one rare individual who comes around only once every 5,000 + years or more.

The Bahai UHJ is a 9 member board of men only and will stay that way for at least 1,000 years, according to Bahai teachings.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

Post by Presto Kensho »

I am sorry if I offended anyone in any sort of way regarding the Bahai faith. I have heard it said that people are more careful in selecting the right used car than in choosing a new religion. I believe it's good, in spiritual matters, to be as inquisitive as possible. The principle of the independent search after truth is a feature in particular that I find attractive about the Bahai faith.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

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No worries; it's good to keep an open mind and keep searching. All of the Dharmic religions are good, imo.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

Post by Presto Kensho »

Bahais are a persecuted enough religious group as it is, and I would like to avoid saying bad things about them, even if I decide not to join their religion.
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Re: The Baha'i Faith

Post by Presto Kensho »

If I join the Baha'i faith, I can still learn about other religions. This is because Baha'is believe in the essential truths of all religions, as well as the individual's independent search after truth.
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