Author Topic: Declaring Baha'i  (Read 563 times)

Offline ZenFred

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Declaring Baha'i
« on: September 06, 2017, 05:31:23 pm »
I wanted to announce that I am planning to convert (or declare) becoming a Baha'i. It's been a long and challenging discernment and searching for me since my time here and under the guidance of Dharmakara.
Baha'is affirm the unity of all religions and recognize religious and contemplative practices are vital for the advancement of mankind and the increase of compassion and peace. Buddhism excels at teaching compassion and peace and spiritual advancement.
Baha'is acknowledge Buddha as a divine manifestation, a mirror of the Divine Reality. I understand this mystical rather than metaphysicaly or ontologicaly.
I hope continue to learn from you all and deepen my own practice of compassion and seeking of Truth.

-Fred

Offline Samana Johann

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2017, 05:55:24 pm »
May ZenFred soon fins unity with his prefered God and may he be supported by the Buddhas teachings on how to find the palace and not only build stairways neither knowing where the palce is nor in contact with people knowing that.

Althought the Buddha rebuked his disciples when giving someone not the way to final Nibbana if possible capable in such. May such a Noble person be on side at when death might approach anyway, since this is the most important time to have Dhamma and admirable friends and companions aside.

How ever, for all cases, remember this and keep the voice for that case in mind, for the case you might not return or not at proper time:
Quote
Gilana Sutta: Ill

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Park. Now at that time many monks were at work making robes for the Blessed One, [thinking,] "When the robes are finished, at the end of the three months, the Blessed One will set out wandering."

Mahanama the Sakyan heard that many monks were at work making robes for the Blessed One, [thinking,] "When the robes are finished, at the end of the three months, the Blessed One will set out wandering." So he approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "I have heard that many monks are at work making robes for the Blessed One, [thinking,] 'When the robes are finished, at the end of the three months, the Blessed One will set out wandering.' But I haven't heard in the Blessed One's presence, haven't learned in the Blessed One's presence, how a discerning lay follower who is diseased, in pain, severely ill should be instructed by [another] discerning lay follower."

"Mahanama, a discerning lay follower[2] who is diseased, in pain, severely ill should be reassured by another discerning lay follower with four reassurances: 'Be reassured, friend, that you are endowed with verified confidence in the Awakened One: "Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed."

"'Be reassured, friend, that you have verified confidence in the Dhamma: "The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves."

"'Be reassured, friend, that you have verified confidence in the Sangha: "The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced well... who have practiced straight-forwardly... who have practiced methodically... who have practiced masterfully — in other words, the four pairs, the eight individuals — they are the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples: worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world."

"'Be reassured, friend, that you have virtues that are appealing to the noble ones: untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplattered, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, leading to concentration.'

"Mahanama, when a discerning lay follower who is diseased, in pain, severely ill has been reassured by another discerning lay follower with these four reassurances, he should be asked: 'Friend, are you concerned for your mother & father?' If he should say, 'I am concerned for my mother & father,' he should be told, 'You, my dear friend, are subject to death. If you feel concern for your mother & father, you're still going to die. If you don't feel concern for your mother & father, you're still going to die. It would be good if you abandoned concern for your mother & father.'

"If he should say, "My concern for my mother & father has been abandoned,' he should be asked, 'Friend, are you concerned for your wife & children?' If he should say, 'I am concerned for my wife & children,' he should be told, 'You, my dear friend, are subject to death. If you feel concern for your wife & children, you're still going to die. If you don't feel concern for your wife & children, you're still going to die. It would be good if you abandoned concern for your wife & children.'

"If he should say, "My concern for my wife & children has been abandoned,' he should be asked, 'Friend, are you concerned for the five strings of human sensuality?' If he should say, 'I am concerned for the five strings of human sensuality,' he should be told, 'Friend, divine sensual pleasures are more splendid & more refined than human sensual pleasures. It would be good if, having raised your mind above human sensual pleasures, you set it on the Devas of the Four Great Kings.'

"If he should say, 'My mind is raised above human sensual pleasures and is set on the Devas of the Four Great Kings,' he should be told, 'Friend, the Devas of the Thirty-three are more splendid & more refined than the Devas of the Four Great Kings. It would be good if, having raised your mind above the Devas of the Four Great Kings, you set it on the Devas of the Thirty-three.'

"If he should say, 'My mind is raised above the Devas of the Four Great Kings and is set on the Devas of the Thirty-three,' he should be told, 'Friend, the Devas of the Hours are more splendid & more refined than the Devas of the Thirty-three. It would be good if, having raised your mind above the Devas of the Thirty-three, you set it on the Devas of the Hours.'

"If he should say, 'My mind is raised above the Devas of the Thirty-three and is set on the Devas of the Hours,' he should be told, 'Friend, the Contented Devas are more splendid & more refined than the Devas of the Hours... the Devas Delighting in Creation are more splendid & more refined than the Contented Devas... the Devas Wielding Power over the Creations of Others are more splendid & more refined than the Devas Delighting in Creation... the Brahma world is more splendid and more refined than the Devas Wielding Power over the Creations of Others. It would be good if, having raised your mind above the Devas Wielding Power over the Creations of Others, you set it on the Brahma world.'

"If he should say, 'My mind is raised above the Devas Wielding Power over the Creations of Others and is set on the Brahma world,' he should be told, 'Friend, even the Brahma world is inconstant, impermanent, included in self-identity. It would be good if, having raised your mind above the Brahma world, you brought it to the cessation of self-identity.'

"If he should say, 'My mind is raised above the Brahma worlds and is brought to the cessation of self-identity,' then, I tell you, Mahanama, there is no difference — in terms of release — between the release of that lay follower whose mind is released and the release of a monk whose mind is released."
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Offline ZenFred

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2017, 06:25:10 pm »
Thank you.
You said "unity with his prefered God and may he be supported by the Buddhas teachings"
That's exactly what I'm seeking and have found. For me, Baha'i offers not just a theoretical unity of faiths but a unity within myself. The teachings of Buddha and the Dhamma/Dharma are indeed paths to liberation. It is the Dharma that saved me from my life being consumed by post traumatic stress disorder and it was Zen that taught me to seek direct knowledge and set me upon the mystic path.
How can I say Dharmakara, my beloved teacher, was lost in ignorance or deny the holiness of the Rabbis who allowed me to study with or be blind to the love and compassion of the Christian church I grew up in? It would be like cutting off my own hands and feet. I can't! I am greatful for all guidance and wisdom that has been abundantly shared.
God has lead and guided me along the way, no place was an accidental stop along the way. I shouldn't discard any of it.

Offline ground

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2017, 10:09:58 pm »
I wanted to announce that I am planning to convert (or declare) becoming a Baha'i. ...
Never mind. Today you convert to this and tomorrow you convert to that.  :teehee:

If you always announced when you change your mind you would be very busy with your announcements.  :lmfao:

...
God has lead and guided me along the way, no place was an accidental stop along the way. I shouldn't discard any of it.
The point is you cannot discard the past regardless of whom you blame or praise for it. Most people need 'the other', be it a god, or a so called 'teacher', or a deity called 'the buddha' or 'gautama' ... because it would be unusual to grasp at daddy or mom for a grown up.  :wink1:

« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 10:26:26 pm by ground »

Offline Samana Johann

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2017, 11:51:37 pm »
Thank you.
You said "unity with his prefered God and may he be supported by the Buddhas teachings"
That's exactly what I'm seeking and have found. For me, Baha'i offers not just a theoretical unity of faiths but a unity within myself. The teachings of Buddha and the Dhamma/Dharma are indeed paths to liberation. It is the Dharma that saved me from my life being consumed by post traumatic stress disorder and it was Zen that taught me to seek direct knowledge and set me upon the mystic path.
How can I say Dharmakara, my beloved teacher, was lost in ignorance or deny the holiness of the Rabbis who allowed me to study with or be blind to the love and compassion of the Christian church I grew up in? It would be like cutting off my own hands and feet. I can't! I am greatful for all guidance and wisdom that has been abundantly shared.
God has lead and guided me along the way, no place was an accidental stop along the way. I shouldn't discard any of it.


A person of integrity has gratitude in regard of this teachers and those having supported and respects and honors the devas and god, for a person respecting those, especially those worthy for respect, four Dhammas increase: long live, beauty (honor), well-being, strength and he is well protected and accepted where ever he/she approches.

Mudita!

(But dont forget the voice given, as ayu, vanno, sukha, balam is not lasting, yet panna is.)

In regard of promises, debts... it might be of benifical ues to listen here the talk in the amr-file, since there are reasons that allow letting go of promises and debts, even strong, so not to get at least to much bound in investing to much in the worlds here and there.

Quote
no place was an accidental stop along the way

One is always good guided if walking apath of merits, one meets the merits of past, like old friends after long time. Just like in the Dhammateaching "Hans in luck"

« Last Edit: September 07, 2017, 12:03:14 am by Samana Johann »
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Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2017, 06:20:25 am »
Hi, Fred.

Like yourself, I have done many different religiostic experiments.  Some of my friends and associates were Bahai' and seemed to do very well with that particular faith.  Before you jump in with both feet, I suggest you investigate it's founder , Bahá'u'lláh, who claimed to be the reincarnation of many of the prophets.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bah%C3%A1%27u%27ll%C3%A1h

May you prosper from your investigation and your journey along your path. :hug:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline ground

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2017, 01:51:34 am »
Hi, Fred.

Like yourself, I have done many different religiostic experiments.  ...

This may be a typical US phenomenon since in the US there are many people who are obsessed with religion due to fundamental christian upbringing.

If we only compare how often US presidents talk of 'god' and how important the conceptual connection between 'god and 'nation' seems to be in the US we get a good impression of the specific role religion has in the US.

This is very strange from a European perspective. :fu:

Offline IdleChater

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2017, 05:26:13 pm »
Hi, Fred.

Like yourself, I have done many different religiostic experiments.  ...

This may be a typical US phenomenon since in the US there are many people who are obsessed with religion due to fundamental christian upbringing.


I think it's typical and due, at least in part to the imortance of religion, specifically Christianity, in the American Mindset.

We are taught this importance from an early age, especially the Baby Boom generation.  We were taught about the Pilgrims and the colony they started at Plymouth Rock to escape religious persecution.  The sought religious freedom and this was memorialized in the foundations of this country.  Or so they said

Being "churched" was of vital importance within the context of local society.  It provided a sence of identity, place and purpose.  It was part of the structure of the social fabric - as indispensible as the english language.  It also provided world view, and education. It instilled what was expected of us and how to behave.


Pretty important and even if you weren't in a church-going family it still touched and ifluenced you.

Quote
If we only compare how often US presidents talk of 'god' and how important the conceptual connection between 'god and 'nation' seems to be in the US we get a good impression of the specific role religion has in the US.

As a result of that cutural dynamic religion plce a vital role in how we identify as a nation.  While "God and Country" did not originate here, it did come to flower on out shores.

It also affects how we engage in religious practice.  How many people try to "follow" the N8FP and the 5 Precepts and their devotion to that is not unlike how Christians try to follow the 10 Commandments., and I believe  there is a predisposition to that behavior as a result of our cultural conditioning.  The way some people prctice Buddhism makes you wonder if they aren't really Christians.  Some Buddhist sects, Jodo Shinshu for one offers services that are remarkably similar to Protestant churches.

It's actually kinda normal.  A cultural status quo - Christianity - is confronted by a revultionary cultural force - Buddhism.  Conflict arises.  Tension.  The result is a new status quo that contains elements of both.  So, for a western Buddhist to try to employ Christian mind sets to Buddhist, if even unconsciously, is totally understandable.  Acceptable.

Kinda like what Fred is trying to do.  He'll be fine.  Or Not.  Whatever happens from here will be his Karma.



Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2017, 06:12:02 pm »
I wanted to announce that I am planning to convert (or declare) becoming a Baha'i. It's been a long and challenging discernment and searching for me since my time here and under the guidance of Dharmakara.
Baha'is affirm the unity of all religions and recognize religious and contemplative practices are vital for the advancement of mankind and the increase of compassion and peace. Buddhism excels at teaching compassion and peace and spiritual advancement.
Baha'is acknowledge Buddha as a divine manifestation, a mirror of the Divine Reality. I understand this mystical rather than metaphysicaly or ontologicaly.
I hope continue to learn from you all and deepen my own practice of compassion and seeking of Truth.

-Fred

I actually was thinking about becoming a Bahai about a year and a half ago, and I decided not to for two main reasons:

I didn't feel comfortable attending religious gatherings in a complete stranger's house.

I couldn't accept that an all-loving, all-powerful creator god would allow for undeserved suffering and evil in the world.

Other than these two things, there's a great deal of positive things to the Bahai faith.

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2017, 06:59:46 pm »
Thanks for the comments.
Ron, I did look back over the Baha'i teachings. "Divine manifestations" is a tricky and deceptive term. In the texts they are described as humans who are mirrors of the divine. I love this because it's a mystical answer and it doesn't spell out a specific theological view. I'm coming to Baha'i out of the strong mystical approach and strong emphasis on worship of God alone. It came out of Sufi Islam. I'm not as concerned about theological doctrines. I do love the unity of religions though .

Idlechater and ground,
The American "churched" culture defiantly has something to do with it. I grew up in a pretty normal family, fairly religious so went to an episcopal church every Sunday. As a kid I of course believed as my parents but I also had mystical experiences of God. I remember "seeing" a light and feel an overwhelming love at a young age. That never left me even though I kept calling it different names.

An alternative explanation I've thought of myself, especially when I'm being doubtful, is that my brain is wired for faith. I experience religious feelings and am naturally inclined to those things that others find difficult or beyond them. Perhaps I have a particularly active or sensitive part of the temporal lobe. Or as we know the brain has placticity and all those Sunday mornings kneeling in prayer as a boy increased my capacity that area of the brain to experience God or fabricate Him or both.

Dharma flower, those things aren't obstacles for me. Suffering and God is a deep question and well deserving of another thread and don't really know if I have the answer. Regardless, I believe firmly that God can be fully found in most religions or in no religion at all. Since this is a Buddhist forum it gets a bit tricky to apply this principle to Buddhism. Buddhist philosophy doesn't really believe in God as such. Pure Land sort of does. I can't speak for God but I suspect that the dedication that Buddhists showvtowards compassion and detachment from corrupting influences is not in vain. I think a faithful Buddhist practing compassion is a man (or woman) after God's own heart. Only a petty, egotistical diety would demand acknowledgement and worship by name. Now worship is good because it changes us, but that's another thread!

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2017, 10:35:08 pm »
Isn't it kind of hypocritical that the Bahai faith teaches monogamy, considering that its founder had multiple wives?

Quote
Bahá'u'lláh had three concurrent wives,[13][44] when his religion teaches monogamy, and this has been the subject of criticism. Bahá'í teachings on gender equality and monogamy post-date Bahá'u'lláh's marriages and are understood to be evolutionary in nature, slowly leading Bahá'ís away from what had been a deeply rooted cultural practice.[44]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bah%C3%A1%27u%27ll%C3%A1h%27s_family#Plurality_of_wives

I mean no disrespect in asking this question.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 10:42:32 pm by Dharma Flower »

Offline ground

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2017, 10:39:44 pm »
Isn't it kind of hypocritical that the Bahai faith teaches polygamy, considering that its founder had multiple wives?
....
Why hypocritical?  :teehee:

Hypocrisy is pretending to be something but acting differently. But who pretends what here?

Offline Dharma Flower

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2017, 10:42:11 pm »
Isn't it kind of hypocritical that the Bahai faith teaches polygamy, considering that its founder had multiple wives?
....
Why hypocritical?  :teehee:

Hypocrisy is pretending to be something but acting differently. But who pretends what here?

I need to edit the post.

Offline ground

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2017, 10:47:16 pm »
If monogamy is set as one of the goals of the religious practice then there is no problem with preliminary polygamy if one does not pretend to have reached the end of practice.

Offline ZenFred

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Re: Declaring Baha'i
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2017, 05:13:07 am »
Ground,
  Here's an explanation of how may wives you can have http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/KA/ka-106.html
  It's technically two but they really encourage only one. So yeah the "prophet" had multiple wives and he tells everyone else to have one. I could think of some possible legalistic defenses but all of that would be "vain imaginings" of man as the Baha'i texts warn against.
There are two reasons I would follow a religious commandment. One shouldn't ever give unconditional obedience to religion, that's a cult then.
1) to practice compassion or to develop spiritual discipline or moral character (love God, love neighbor)
2) as part of norms of the community as long as it is not harmful or an undue burden. An example of this would be Baha'i prohibition against shaving my head. I don't think there's anything wrong with shaving my head (it's probably a prohibition against asceticism) but if I were to shave my head it would cause tension in my Baha'i community. There nothing wrong or difficult for me to not shave my head.
Monogamy definitely falls into 1 and 2 for me. I'm already married. My wife would not like it if I said now that I'm converted here's the new addition! Haha. It's also illegal in the US.

But perhaps the point of all this was that you are suggesting Bahá'u'llá is not a prophet or at least not infallible. The traditional Baha'i understanding is that he (as he described himself) a divine manifestation which means he is a "perfect mirror" of God and giver of God's revelation. He also claims to be a messiah for the world who will bring greater unity and peace until then next revelation in over 1,000 years after him.
Personally, I have major doubts that Bahá'u'llá is infallible. He is a gifted mystical poet and has deep insight into prayer and drawing nearer to God. That's exactly what I'm looking for. If you really want to learn Spanish you go to a Spanish teacher, the best you can find or afford. You join a club of other people learning Spanish. Baha'i has the deepest mysticism I've ever found and the practices of prayer are very fullfilling. I'm not worried too much about the details. I think he definitely had a special connection to God beyond what most of us attain. I guess that what means to be a prophet. The message of Baha'i is certianly salvation/messianic to me personally. So I have faith and believe but not unconditionally.

 


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