The heart of all religions is the relationship of the individual with Ultimate Reality. For centuries no concept of God or Creator existed in Buddhism with the same meaning as in most Western religions. According to Buddhism, Ultimate Reality is viewed as "Empty Void." ("Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha," pp 33,35,47,61,79,167) This idea of the "Empty Void" is a rich and productive one conveying an extensive variety of meanings. There are some interesting relationships between these Buddhist ideas and concepts in quantum physics and the Bahá'í Faith.
VOID OF BUDDHISM:
How can the Void of Buddhism (which is sometimes equated with the Buddha in His ultimate "Form") be viewed? The "Void" or "Emptiness" emphasizes the "Voidness" (Sunyata) of the Absolute. It cannot be described in practical terms since all concepts or view s about It fall into self- contradiction. "Voidness," however, is used to characterize the Absolute, the Ultimate Reality, in certain Mahayanist teachings. The Buddha in His ultimate "Form" is the Void only in the sense that He is manifested by the Void o r the Essence of Reality. He is not the Creator. Buddhahood is dependent on the Absolute; for the Absolute, the Void ("Sunya"), the Buddha says: "If by the Absolute ["Void"] is meant something out of relation to all known things, its existence cannot be e stablished by any known reasoning. How can we know anything unrelated to other relations: we know nothing that is, or can be related." (Tevijja Sutra, I.i)
Can the Buddha be considered, as He is referred to in His Teachings, as the Universal Mind? "The Master said to me: `All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the Universal Mind, besides which nothing exists. This Mind, which has always existed, is unborn and indestructible'" ("Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha," pp 33,35,47, 61,79,167)
BUDDHIST VOID OR ABSOLUTE:
The Buddhists have told us that behind this changing world and its illusions there is the Buddhist Void or Absolute Reality (God). According to the Buddhist (and Bahá'í) teachings, it is possible for us to avoid the pains caused by the accidents and changes of this world. The Lord Buddha advises us to seek the Absolute or the Unconditioned. We do not have ample words, however, to speak of this Supreme Reality. The Buddha discusses It in His famous verse in the Udana passage in the Khuddaka Nikaya: "There is, O monks, an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. Were there not, O monks, this Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed. Since, O monks, there is an Unborn, Unori ginated, Uncreated, Unformed, therefore is there an escape from the born, originated, created, formed. What is dependent, that also moves; what is independent does not move. Where there is no movement, there is rest; where rest is, there is no desire; whe re there is no desire, there is neither coming nor going, no ceasing-to-be, no further coming to be. Where there is no ceasing-to-be, no further coming-to-be, there is neither this shore [this world] nor the other shore [Nirvana], nor anything between the m." (Udana 8:3; Khudda Nikaya, in "Minor Anthologies," p 98)
RELATED BAHA'I IDEAS:
Although the Buddha employs such wording as the `Unborn, Unoriginated,'in His Writings, Bahá'u'lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá'í Faith, uses the word `God.' Both agree, however, that these are only words used as a name for something that we humans c an never fathom. Consequently all endeavors to interpret this Verity are only relative; it is conceivable that even contradictory statements can also be valid. When we consider various approaches to the "Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed," each culture has a distinct manner of perceiving this Reality that may seem to be dissimilar. These dissimilarities are caused by the limitations of human minds. This Reality is One and is transcendent to our frail understandings to represent It. According to Ba ha'u'llah, the Buddhas are the Manifestations of the Absolute or Ultimate Reality in this world. Each Manifestation is the "Light of lights" and not in Himself just "another" light. Relative to humanity, however, He is in all respects the Absolute.
Bahá'u'lláh states that the Word of God is not the Essence of God. We can thus unravel whether or not the Void of Buddha refers to the Word of God or to the Absolute, the Unknown, the Ancient One. The Word of God must be distinguished from the Absolute ( or Ultimate Reality). If God equates to the Absolute, then the Word of God cannot equate to the Void of the Buddha. The Buddha equates the "Void" with the Absolute rather than to the Word of God. Instead, the Word of God is a Manifestation of the "Void" whenever the "Void" is referred to as the Absolute.
The concept of all the Buddhas being embodiments of the Universal Mind is clarified by `Abdu'l-Bahá, the oldest son of Bahá'u'lláh. Special characteristics of the Universal Mind incarnated as the Buddha and as any of the Holy Manifestations of God are ad dressed, when he states: "The universal divine mind, which is beyond nature, is the bounty of the Preexistent Power. This universal mind is divine; it embraces existing realities, and it receives the light of the mysteries of God. It is a conscious power , not a power of investigation and of research. The intellectual power of the world of nature is a power of investigation, and by its researches it discovers the realities of beings and the properties of existences; but the heavenly intellectual power, which is beyond nature, embraces things and is cognizant of things, knows them, understands them, is aware of mysteries, realities and divine significations, and is the discoverer of the concealed verities of the Kingdom. This divine intellectual power is t he special attribute of the Holy Manifestations and the Dawning-places of prophethood; a ray of this light falls upon the mirrors of the hearts of the righteous, and a portion and a share of this power comes to them through the Holy Manifestations." (Some Answered Questions, page 218)
What is the first thing that emanated from the Ultimate Reality we call God? `Abdu'l-Bahá explains, "The first thing which emanated from God is that universal reality, that the ancient philosophers termed the `First Mind,' or `Universal Mind', and which the people of Baha call the `First Will [or Word of God].' This emanation, in that which concerns the action of the world of God, is not limited by time or place; it is without beginning or end....Though the `First Mind' or `Universal Mind' is without beginning, it does not become a sharer in the preexistence of God [Ultimate Reality], for the existence of the universal reality in relation to the existence of God is nothingness."(Some Answered Questions, page 203)
Democritus once said, "Nothing exists except atoms and empty space." How do forces, such as gravity or electromagnetic forces, stretch out from one atom to another through the empty space in between? In 1832, physicist Michael Faraday introduced the idea of a "field," the capability of space to be affected by the presence of a particle. A familiar case is a magnet communicating its presence to iron filings. Faraday viewed the space around the magnet as being "strained."
VOID OF QUANTUM PHYSICS:
Modern physics, at every turn, is coming face to face with a reality that goes beyond our rational ability to describe or understand. In quantum physics, the heart of matter springs from a "void," an "emptiness", a "quantum soup" that can only be conceived of in terms similar to the "Ground of Being" of the mystic. What is this "nothingness" that lies at the very core of the physics of the infinitesimal and the infinite? Is it different than the nothingness of which Buddhists speak? `Abdu'l- Baha declares that "existence and nonexistence are both relative. If it be said that such a thing came into existence from nonexistence, this does not refer to absolute nothingness. For absolute nothingness cannot find existence, as it has not the capacity for existence...Therefore, though the world of contingency exists, in relation to the existence of God it is nonexistent and nothingness." (Some Answered Questions, p 281)
The "void" or "nothingness" of quantum physics is distinctly different than the "Void" of Buddhism. The "void" or "nothingness" of quantum physics is like a gigantic "vacuum fluctuation" from which physicists think the universe came about. If God created the universe from a void or nothingness, then we should carefully look into the properties of that "void or nothingness" from which our being came. The vacuum is just the physicist's word for "void" or "nothingness." Over 100 years ago, this empty void was considered to be filled with a thin, transparent medium called ether through which light waves and electromagnetic waves, in general, are propagated. This seemed to be natural to physicists, since waves are usually observed as vibrations of something. For example, sound waves are vibrations of air, water and solids.
ETHER NOT MEASURABLE:
In 1887, however, physicists Albert Michelson and Edward Morley developed an ether "drift" experiment to try to measure the relative difference in the speed of light while the point of measurement moved towards the sun in the morning as well as away from the sun in the evening as the earth rotates about its axis. This ether "drift" experiment assumed that if space was filled with ether, the measurements should indicate a higher speed of light as the earth moved through the ether towards the sun as well as a lower speed of light as the earth moved through the ether away from the sun. But no change in the velocity of light was ever observed! (Einstein, Letters)
ETHER DECLARED SUPERFLUOUS:
It was Albert Einstein who declared that the speed of light is constant regardless of the velocity of the observer towards or away from the source of light. This hypothesis formed the basis of his relativity theory. He also declared that there was no need for ether, that light and all electromagnetic waves were thought of as wavelike disturbances in an independently existing electromagnetic field. Ether was considered "superfluous". He proposed that ether does not exist. For quite a while, few ever questioned his authority about ether. The question, however, still exists, how can we be sure there is no ether? Even an electromagnetic field is an abstract mathematical theory or entity that we cannot directly observe either. (Einstein's Scientific Papers)
ETHER'S EXISTENCE AFFIRMED:
According to `Abdu'l-Bahá, we can categorize realities into two types, sensible and objective or intellectual and abstract. Realities that are perceptible to the senses are objective or sensible realities, whereas a reality that "has no outward form and no place and is not perceptible to the senses" is an intellectual or abstract reality. Way before Einstein's proclamation and way before the results of the Michaelson-Morley experiments, `Abdu'l-Bahá explained in "Some Answered Questions" that ether was no t measurable. This did not mean, however, that ether did not exist. As `Abdu'l-Bahá states, "ethereal matter, the forces of which are said in physics to be heat, light, electricity and magnetism, is an intellectual reality, and is not sensible...If we wis h to deny everything that is not sensible, then we must deny the realities which unquestionably exist. For example, ethereal matter is not sensible, though it has undoubted existence. The power of attraction is not sensible, though it certainly exists. Fr om what do we affirm these existences? From their signs. Thus this light is the vibration of that ethereal matter, and from this vibration we infer the existence of ether."(Some Answered Questions, pp 84,190)
ACTION OVER "EMPTY SPACE":
How does a force field manifest itself in the intervening void? In quantum electrodynamics (QED), the field is quantized, i.e., is broken down into quanta as virtual, not matter, particles called messenger particles. These are called field particles. They transmit the force by traveling, at the speed of light, between different matter particles. These "messenger" particles are called photons in QED. Other forces, such as gravity and nuclear forces, have their own distinct messengers. Messenger particles are the way we can visualize transmission of forces in "empty space."
These messenger particles are also called "virtual" or "ghost" particles that are continuously created and destroyed in very short times, as predicted by quantum electrodynamics (QED) and that have been observed in the so-called "empty void" or vacuums. This tends to confirm that the so-called "empty void" of physics is not really empty nor a void after all but is an ethereal world. Ether is infinitesimally smaller than any known or hypothesized particle and does indeed exist! It is continuous as far as we know. It has now been recognized that theories exist in which the most elementary objects are lines or loops ("strings"), rather than points. These strings can also be considered as vortex loops of ether.
Real particles can travel from point to point. They conserve energy. They make clicks on Geiger counters. Virtual particles do none of these. Messenger particles, as force transmitters, can be real particles, but more frequently they appear in the theory as virtual particles; so the two terms are often the same. Virtual particles carry the force message from particle to particle. A virtual particle is a logical construct of quantum physics. The number of these exchange photons varies inversely with the square of the distance between the particles involved. When you rub a balloon and stick it to the ceiling, or feel the pull and push of magnets, you are witnessing the results of migrant photons invisibly doing their work.
In this view, the so-called "empty void" can be overflowing with these ghostly particles: virtual photons, virtual electrons and positrons, virtual quarks and antiquarks, etc. (A positron is identical to the electron except that it has a positive charge . A positron is sometimes called an anti-matter particle, as predicted by quantum theory. Quarks are particles out of which protons and neutrons are formed. An anti-quark is a quark with equal but opposite charge.) In this whirling, energetic "empty void," a real particle's properties are also modified. Luckily, these modifications are very small. But they are measurable. As an example, consider a real electron. There is always a cloud of fleeting virtual photons around it. These communicate to all space and particles in space that an electron is present. This cloud of virtual photons also influences the electron's behavior. Furthermore, a virtual photon can decay, very transiently, into a positron and an electron pair. In a blink of an angel's eye, the p air is back together again as a photon.
THE EMPTY VOID OF QUANTUM PHYSICS:
Today, physicists realize that the pristine absoluteness of the vacuum state or "empty void" is vastly more complex than previously surmised. (As we noted before, the "empty void" of physics is not the same as the "Empty Void" or Ultimate Reality of Buddhism.) This may be only the tip of the iceberg; a zoo of particles zoom in and out of this ethereal void. So the ether or "empty void" is now a reference frame for energy, at least potential energy. The "empty void" is overflowing with energy and particle s. Particles do indeed pop in and out of this apparent void. These particles come in all shapes and sizes, and flit in and out of existence over time and space. They are created instantaneously and then usually swiftly vanish almost as quickly as they app ear. As long as they are far way from other "matter," this on and off play repeats itself continuously. Both physicists know and non-physicists hear about this eery ballet of appearance and disappearance of multitudes of particles of all sizes and shapes. There are quantum mechanics rules for this turbulent weirdness of the so-called "empty void."
These dancing particles borrow energy from the "empty void" and pay it back when they return. Like Cinderella particles, they have to disappear back into the "empty void" before the end of a time measured by an extremely tiny fraction of a second, as specified by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. However, if sufficient energy is provided from the outside, like the Prince spending his energy in search of his Cinderella, then the virtual and transient appearance can be converted to real existence, and the Cinderella particle goes to and remains in the Prince's castle for good! Obviously the greater the energy used to produce a particle out of the "empty void," the greater will be its mass, but the less frequently it will appear.
Some physicists argue that the laws of nature came into being with the universe. If that were so, then these laws cannot explain the origin of the present universe, because the laws would not exist until the universe existed. If these laws existed prior to the origin of the universe, they become like Plato's perfect Forms that act as blueprints for the construction of the ephemeral world of our perceptions. In our search for reality, we must turn to the ancient problem of whether the laws of natureexist i n an independent Platonic realm. (Plato, pp 456-459)
Plato had a dualistic vision of reality. One was the physical world, fleeting and impermanent, that was caused by the "Demiurge". The other was the realm of Forms or Ideas, eternal and unchanging, acting as sort of abstract templates for the contingent world of creation. Plato also considered mathematical objects to belong to this Ideal realm.
FORMS AND ATTRIBUTES:
The Word of God, the Primal Will, is reflected into infinite Forms. The totality of Forms is the created names and attributes of God concealed within the Primal Will. There is a distinct parallelism in meaning between the Forms of Plato and the names and attributes of God. A Creator creates through the Word of God the existence of creatures that manifest Its attributes. `Abdu'l-Bahá states that: "the names and attributes of God require the existence of objects or creatures upon which they have been bestowed and in which they become manifest...Because they convey life, they are called Life-giving; because they provide, they are called Bountiful, the Provider; because they create, they are called Creator; because they educate and govern, the name Lord God is applied. That is to say, the divine names emanate from the eternal attributes of Divinity." (Promulgation, p 219)
FORM OR FASHIONER:
Most of the laws of physics, as we know them or not, could be applied to some kind of primal substance, whatever it is. Plato's Timaeus consists of several arguments that might help us to understand. Plato's writings say that all contingent things consist of both primordial matter, the primary substance of the universe, and a subtle counterpart, the form or fashioner, which limits or shapes the primary substance into specific things.(Plato, pp 456-472)
Here we have "primary matter" that was caused by the Word of God or (in Plato's terms) the "Demiurge". The other realm is the domain of Forms or Ideas, called names and attributes that are eternal and unchanging, also caused by the Primal Will of God. T he Word of God is Its own cause. The Word of God is transcendent to but the Cause of primary matter (called the recipient) and also is the Cause of the active force, the Forms or totality of the names and attributes of God (called the Fashioner). Primary matter never changes its characteristics. As Plato describes: "[Primary matter] continues to receive all things, and yet never takes a permanent impress from any of the things that enter it; it is a kind of neutral plastic material on which changing impre ssions are stamped by the things which enter it, making it appear different at different times. And the things which pass in and out of it are copies of the eternal realities whose form they take in a wonderful way that is hard to describe... For the mome nt we must make a threefold distinction and think of that which becomes, that in which it becomes, and the model which it resembles." (Plato, p 67- 68)
CREATOR AND CREATION:
Strictly speaking, God the Creator cannot be described in terms of attributes. The attributes of God's Essence are completely and utterly unknowable. "As to the attributes such as will, knowledge, power and other ancient attributes that we ascribe to that Divine Essence, these are the signs that reflect the existence of beings in the visible plane and not the absolute perfections of the Essence of God that cannot be comprehended. As we consider `created'[Some Western Buddhists prefer the translation `made '] things we observe infinite perfections. If the created things exist in the utmost regularity we infer that the Creator, on which depends the existence of these beings, cannot be ignorant; thus we say He is All-Knowing. It is certain that it is not impotent; it must be then All-Powerful". (Bahá'í World Faith, pp 342-43)
WORD OF GOD IS THE FASHIONER:
The Word of God (Universal Mind), as `Abdu'l-Bahá states, is the Will of God. To Bahá'ís It is the "First Mind," the "Universal Mind," the "Primal Will," the "Command of God" or the "Fashioner". The Fashioner, as the Word of God, is not limited by time or place; it is without beginning or end. Since every contingent thing must have an origin, the Word of God is the Cause that has preceded the contingent world, that is being continuously re-created or "re-made" at all times. The Word of God is man's mystery, through which man must approach God.
As Bahá'u'lláh says in His Tablet of Wisdom, the Word of God "is higher and far superior to that which the senses can perceive, for it is sanctified from any property or substance. It transcendeth the limitations of known elements and is exalted above all the essential and recognized substances. It became manifest without any syllable or sound and is none but the Command of God which pervadeth all created things. It hath never been withheld from the world of being... Every thing must needs have an origi n and every building a builder. Verily, the Word of God is the Cause which hath preceded the contingent world - a world which is adorned with the splendours of the Ancient of Days, yet is being renewed and regenerated at all times." (Tablets pp 140-142)
THE FASHIONED AND THE FASHIONER:
All things are manifested from two entities: The "Fashioned" and the "Fashioner". The Fashioned is the primordial substance or primary matter. The "Fashioner" is the collective set of the names and attributes of God, the Word of God, the Inner Reality of all created things. Bahá'u'lláh mentions two principles inherent in the Word of God, the active force and its recipient. He states that the active force and its recipient "are the same, yet they are different. Thus doth the Great Announcement inform thee about this glorious structure. Such as communicate the generating influence [the attributes of God, that are collectively one as the Fashioner] and such as receive Its impact [primary matter or the Fashioned] are indeed created through the irresistible Word of God which is the Cause of the entire creation, while else besides His Word are the creatures and the effects thereof." (Tablets, pp 140-2)
ATTRIBUTES OF GOD:
`Abdu'l-Bahá qualifies God's attributes by saying: "God is the Ancient, the Almighty; His attributes are infinite. If He can be limited to human ideas, He is not God. Strange it is that, not withstanding these are self-evident truths, man continues to build walls and fences of limitation about God, about Divinity so glorious, illimitable, boundless. Consider the endless phenomena of His creation [or the contingent universe]. They are infinite; the universe is infinite." (Promulgation p 274)
The Manifestation of God is the totality of all the names and attributes of God. On the Word of God made manifest as a Messenger of God on earth, Bahá'u'lláh states: "Unto this subtle, this mysterious and ethereal Being He hath assigned a twofold nature; the physical, pertaining to the world of matter, and the spiritual, which is born of the substance of God Himself. He hath, moreover, conferred upon Him a double station. The first station, which is related to His innermost reality, representeth Him as One Whose voice is the voice of God Himself...The second station is the human station, exemplified by the following verses: `I am but a man like you.'" (Gleanings, pages 66-67)
ETHEREAL MATTER AND THE "EMPTY VOID":
What are the connections between the "empty void," ether, primary matter, space and time? What constitutes space and time? According to relativity theory, space and time are elastic. The contraction of moving objects and the dilation of time stems from th is. The electromagnetic field can also be described as a space-time curvature, distortion or warp. Space-time, according to Einstein, is elastic and is shaped or conditioned by various transitory forces or fields.
The all-pervading ether acts in the physical world as a quantum reality filled with an infinite number of forms that give ril and real particles, and ban ks of energy from which mass, motion, charge, spin, energy, and whatever else is born. From this all- permeating ether also comes the world of the spiritually formed beings. From what `Abdu'l-Bahá says, ethereal matter is the basic substance and generator of all created things, both material and spiritual. This ether, according to Bahá'u'lláh, has "the cl osest likeness to the human spirit." (Tablets, p 146)
This ether, consisting of primary matter together with the active force that fashions it, becomes the "empty void" as an invisible power known only through the forces it exerts, such as electromagnetic radiation. This ether is an eternal reality that is spiritual in nature and corresponds to the constituent substance of all things, including that of the human spirit, that is fashioned with all of the names and attributes of God.
ETHEREAL MATTER AND THE BUDDHIST VOID:
The Void of the Buddha and Hinduism is beyond all power of words to explain. All the great Mahayana masters insist that this Void cannot be understood. In Sanskrit it is called Sunyanta, in Japanese Ku or Mu, in Chinese, Mu. All of these simply mean "Nothing." (No pun intended.) The best source for getting to know what can be known about it without a lifetime of Zazen is the Heart Sutra, the Paramita Sutra's very brief form. The key phrase there is: "Form is Emptiness [Void] and Emptiness is Form."(Suzuki , p 95) Although the Buddhist Void or Emptiness is equated with the Absolute, this does not mean that the Absolute is "Form" itself. The Absolute in reality is formless, without any form, name or attribute. This quote from the Heart Sutra is referring to a Manifestation of the Absolute, which is the totality of forms of all kinds, both physical and mental.
From the considerations made before, primary matter must be spiritual, formless, continuous as well as permeate the entire universe as "part" of the potential "inner reality" of all created things. Primary matter is the "Fashioned" and must be spiritual in nature. Primary matter has potentialities but is without form. It takes on form in its potentiality to become different things. The Fashioner, the Word of God, is above and separate from primary matter. The "Fashioned" is primary matter, that must also be spiritual in nature.
GOD OF ZEN BUDDHISM:
In an invited lecture to the Emperor of Japan, the famous Buddhist Professor Dr. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, chose vital doctrines from the various Buddhist sects and presented what he claims to be the Essence of Buddhism: "As I see it, this is the summit of oriental thought as developed by the finest Buddhist minds, and represents Japan's contribution to world philosophy...We need to see God face to face, that we may live in each other...In Christianity self is non-assertive, and God stands above and besides the self. There is always a sharp distinction between the two, and the two are never merged. If there is a merging it takes the form of merging the self in God, and God never merges Himself in the Self. There is no mutuality between the two. In this sense Christianity is thoroughly dualistic, whereas in Buddhism God stands on the same level as man. God becomes man and man becomes god. Christians may think this reflects on the dignity of God, but Buddhism asserts not only the merging but the distinction i s retained, for merging does not efface distinction. God and man are distinct yet mutually merged." (Suzuki, p 67)
A NEW HUMAN RACE:
The simple truth appears to be that there lived on earth, "appearing at intervals of roughly one thousand years" among ordinary humans, the faint beginnings of another race. As in the days of Abraham, Moses, Krishna, the Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, and now in the days of the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh, a new human race is being manifested or produced. It walks the earth and breathes the air with us, but at the same time walks another earth and breathes another air of which we know little or nothing. This progressiv e revelation produces evolutions in our spiritual life without which we would be spiritually dead. This new race is coming into being born from us, and in the near future it will occupy and possess the earth. This Kingdom of God on earth is presently tran sforming humanity with a new consciousness, a new life, a new soul.
The Bahá'í Faith is rapidly becoming a truly manifested World Order that no one can stop. This is its destiny. In the fulfillment of Lord Buddha and other Divine Teachers, Bahá'u'lláh has appeared with the revelation of a new world order, equipped with the essential means to thrust humanity as a whole out of the anarchy of prejudices, partisan politics, disunity, wars and human suffering into a new sphere of spiritual realization, on to a greater plane of human awareness and action, based upon universal application of equity, love, peace and fellowship, devoted to the goal of achieving humanity's full potential. The Impenetrable Void really exists. To gain an awareness of Its presence through Its infinitely divers and incredibly wonderful and perfect es sence is the truest Science and the purest Religion. Only a unified humanity can manifest Its Reality among us.
RETURN OF THE BUDDHA:
Thanks to Jamsheed Fosdar's studies, investigations and publications, (see Fosdar) we now have sufficient evidence regarding the time and the place of the greatest Spiritual Advent - He - Who unparalleled among any other claimants, past or present, meets the prerequisites described in the Scriptures of all the World Religions. He is the Blessed Beauty, Bahá'u'lláh, meaning the "Glory of God." He was born in Persia. Like Gautama Buddha, Bahá'u'lláh was born of an ancient and royal family. His father was th e Minister of State to the Shah of Persia. After His father's death, the Shah offered to Him His father's post of Minister of State. Like Gautama Buddha, however, Bahá'u'lláh declined. He busied Himself administering to the poor and the needy. Like the Bu ddha, He also searched for directions that would bring humanity to a new stature of dignity. Bahá'u'lláh heard of a young merchant in the city of Shiraz called the Bab who was heralding the Advent of "the Lord of the Age," Who would introduce a fresh spir itual age of Whom the Bab claimed to be the Forerunner. The Bab has an Arabic name that means "the Gate". The Bab was like John the Baptist. He declared His religion in 1844. Just as the Buddha was humiliated and harassed by the Brahmins, so was the Bab. Like the Buddha, the Bab faced the wrath of the Muslim clergy and civil leaders. For six years He taught and was tortured, imprisoned and finally martyred along with 20,000 of His followers.
Bahá'u'lláh's only offense was having advocated the Bab's call to a dissolute people to awaken and be ready to behold the appearance of an impending Spiritual Sun. While laying in a dungeon prison after being afflicted by torturers, He experienced the r are and mysterious call in the midst of His agonies. Like the Buddha, Who experienced the Revelation of His mission, Bahá'u'lláh saw the Spiritual Sun shining in His own Self. He was the Buddha, the Promised One of the Bab and awaited by all religions - t he Buddha Maitrya-Amitabaha. Powerless to destroy Bahá'u'lláh's will, His oppressors schemed with the Ottoman empire to banish Bahá'u'lláh, first to Baghdad, then to Constantinople and Adrianople, and finally to the fortress prison of Akka, in the Holy Land.
Bahá'u'lláh said that there is only one God Who educates humanity by sending His Messengers to us all down through the ages. This is Progressive Revelation: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus, Mohammed, the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh were all the same Word of God made flesh in different ages and in different bodies. The Bab and Bahá'u'lláh are the most recent Messengers.
Bahá'u'lláh's mission is to unite the peoples of the world. The Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh is in the Sharon Valley. As prophesied in Isaiah, Baha'ullah is the return of Christ in the Glory of the Father, the fifth Buddha, the tenth Avatar after Krishna. He w as a prisoner in solitary confinement for many years. He suffered for 40 years. During this time Bahá'u'lláh wrote over 100 volumes to guide humanity for the next 1000 years. Still a prisoner, He died in 1892 in the Holy Land. Today, there are over six million Bahá'ís from every nation, color, culture and religion throughout the world.
There are many prophecies concerning Bahá'u'lláh in the Buddhist Teachings. In the Buddhist books, Bahá'u'lláh is referred to as Maitrya Amitabha Buddha, the fifth Buddha after Gautama Buddha. The Buddha has shown us where, when and what to look for. We see in Bahá'u'lláh all of the signs and conditions of the Buddha's ancient Reality "in all its fullness and in all its purity." All the prophetic utterances of the Buddha have been completely fulfilled with "perfect knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as an educator, teacher of gods and men, an Exalted Buddha," the unique Guide for our era. (Fosdar, p 528)
The struggle against the belief in the powers of the gods of Hinduism became the dominant passion of the early defenders of Buddhism. They found it, however, beyond their scope to achieve a true understanding of the allusions by the Buddha concerning the Universal Mind, the Self-Existent, the Un-Create or the Causeless Cause, [See Udana, 80-81]. Today, many Buddhist "fundamentalists," mostly western authors, repudiate faith in an all-pervading, omniscient and all-powerful Cause for the total scheme of things, physical and metaphysical - a misconception in which the Buddha could have had no role. Soon after the Buddha's passing, Buddhism was cleft with schisms. By the close of its first century, fourteen separate schools of thought on the meaning and purpo se of Buddha's Teachings had already started. Others soon followed. Hundreds of works that all claim the Buddha's authority contain most diverse and conflicting interpretations. (Fosdar, p 183)
In his forward to "The Way of the Buddha," published by the government of India, the saintly leader, Mahatma Gandhi addresses the conclusions that are made about the Buddha's rejection of a nonsensical concept of God: "I have heard it contended times wi thout number and I have read in books claiming to express the spirit of Buddhism, that the Buddha did not believe in God. In my humble opinion such a belief contradicts the very central fact of the Buddha's teaching. Confusion has risen over His rejection , and just rejection, of the base things that passed in His generation under the name of God. He undoubtedly rejected the notion that a being called God could be actuated by malice, could repent of His actions, and like the kings of the earth could possibly be open to temptation and bribes, and could have favorites.
God's laws are eternal and unalterable and not separable from God himself. It is an indispensable condition of His very perfection. Hence the great confusion that the Buddha disbelieved in God and simply believed in the moral law. Because of this confusion about God Himself arose the confusion about the proper understanding of the great word Nirvana. Nirvana is undoubtedly not utter extinction of all that is base in us, all that is vicious in us, all that is corrupt and corruptible in us. Nirvana is not like the black dead peace of the grave, but the living peace, the living happiness of a soul which is conscious of itself and conscious of having found its own abode in the heart of the Eternal."
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