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Old 09-06-2017, 07:23 AM   #1
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Reflecting on the Writings

Allah'u'abha,

As a recovering theologian it's been completely transformative to encounter the Baha'i writings, but it's also a bit of a struggle.

There's a Zen story: An American professor of Buddhist studies with multiple PHDs to his name visits a Japanese Zen monostary. He sits down with the abbot for tea. As the old monk started pouring tea they began to talk. The professor went on and on about this school of Buddhism and it's views and that one and its perspective and the technical differences between various Buddhist terminology. As he talked, the monk listened by kept pouring tea. Soon scalding hot tea was running over the table. "Why did you spill tea?" Asked the slightly burned professor. The old monk answered "how can you expect to hold any tea if your cup is already full? You speak and think but you don't listen." Then in typical fashion in these stories, the professor realized his error and became suddenly enlightened.

I'm a lot like the professor. I keep trying to relate Baha'i teachings to other philosophy and concepts. Yet the Writings continue to blow away my attempts to synthesize them into my previous understanding. They are on deeper and more profound level.

In my prayers this morning I had an insight. Those of us coming from other traditions shouldn't be too hard on ourselves. I saw my faith like a jar of water. When I was a Buddhist, my teacher and master died suddenly (he was older). My jug began leaking. Actually it was probably leaking before I just didn't notice. I started using pieces of religions to patch the widening holes. Some Jewish practices, liberal Christian theologians there and a bunch of the Quran all held together with a lot of glue. It was the only way I could reconcile what I intuitively felt while trying to persevere in faith without clear guidance. Then I come across the Writings. It's not something in pieces I can try to add a bit here and a bit there. Instead the Writings are a flawless vessel of pure water. Bahá'u'llá is the "nightingale of the mystic paradise" as described in the seven valleys. I can put down my leaky, piecework cup.
 
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:14 AM   #2
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I found this quote who talks more of the vessel I referred to:
"Beware lest ye be hindered by the veils of glory from partaking of the crystal waters of this living Fountain. Seize ye the chalice of salvation at this dawntide in the name of Him Who causeth the day to break, and drink your fill in praise of Him Who is the All-Glorious, the Incomparable." Bahá'u'llá, the kitab'i'quan
 
Old 09-06-2017, 01:38 PM   #3
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Thank you for the story, I enjoyed the read. The quote also very appropriate.

I can not add to what you have said, it has been said very well.

Regards Tony
 
Old 09-06-2017, 04:17 PM   #4
djg
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What an interesting story! I'm sure I will repeat that one at some point.
 
Old 09-06-2017, 09:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticMonist View Post
There's a Zen story: An American professor of Buddhist studies with multiple PHDs to his name visits a Japanese Zen monostary. He sits down with the abbot for tea. As the old monk started pouring tea they began to talk. The professor went on and on about this school of Buddhism and it's views and that one and its perspective and the technical differences between various Buddhist terminology. As he talked, the monk listened by kept pouring tea. Soon scalding hot tea was running over the table. "Why did you spill tea?" Asked the slightly burned professor. The old monk answered "how can you expect to hold any tea if your cup is already full? You speak and think but you don't listen." Then in typical fashion in these stories, the professor realized his error and became suddenly enlightened.
Thanks for sharing! That is a beautiful story and makes some important points.
Speaking of emptying cups, you might like this BahaiTeachings.org article written by a man who was formerly Jewish: The Hard Work of Accepting a New Prophet

I have been on Baha’i and non-Baha’i forums 24/7 for about five years now so I see that full cup experience is not uncommon at all; in fact it is the norm. Jews and Christians and Buddhists and Hindus I have encountered have cups that are full and they are not open to anything that might upset their glass of water. As long as they are attached to their beliefs anything I say just goes in one ear and out the other, not that I am trying to convince them, I am just sharing. But no matter how beautiful and practical the Writings of Baha’u’llah are it does not matter to them. They are attached. Abdu’l-Baha said religious tradition is the primary veil that prevents people from recognizing the new Messenger in His new attire.

Granted, it is difficult for me to relate to how they actually feel since I never had another religion before the Baha’i Faith, but I try to put myself in their shoes, I try to understand. Obviously, it is not impossible for those of other religions to recognize Baha’u’llah, as evidenced by the fact that most Baha’is were formerly Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Christians, or Muslims. However, if they are happy with their own religion the chances are they will stay with it. Only a numbered few people realize that if God sent a new Messenger who said that He is the One God wants us to follow, then they are going against God to reject Him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticMonist View Post
I'm a lot like the professor. I keep trying to relate Baha'i teachings to other philosophy and concepts. Yet the Writings continue to blow away my attempts to synthesize them into my previous understanding. They are on deeper and more profound level.
Well, obviously they blow everything else away because Baha’u’llah is the Promise of All Ages, the Messiah promised by all the Messengers of past religions, and this is an entirely new cycle of religion the likes of which mankind has never seen. It boggles the imagination just to think about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticMonist View Post
My jug began leaking. Actually it was probably leaking before I just didn't notice. I started using pieces of religions to patch the widening holes. Some Jewish practices, liberal Christian theologians there and a bunch of the Quran all held together with a lot of glue. It was the only way I could reconcile what I intuitively felt while trying to persevere in faith without clear guidance. Then I come across the Writings. It's not something in pieces I can try to add a bit here and a bit there. Instead the Writings are a flawless vessel of pure water. Bahá'u'llá is the "nightingale of the mystic paradise" as described in the seven valleys. I can put down my leaky, piecework cup.
I have tried to make the Revelation of Baha’u’llah “fit” into the older revelations, but it just does not fit because it is TOO BIG! It has much of what the older revelations have but it has so much more... The following verses say it all... Pay close attention to the last verse.

Luke 5:36 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. 37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. 39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

I do not like to sound haughty when I talk to people of other religions, but from my perspective we can put those old wine bottles on the shelf... I am sorry if that hurt’s peoples’ feelings or upsets their life but I am just the messenger for the Messenger... We no longer have a need for the older religions, we just don’t. We have everything we need for the individual and a smoothly functioning society in the Revelation of Baha’u’llah. Moreover, and this is the most important point, an Almighty and All-Wise God did not send a new Messenger just to have us reject Him. To reject God’s Messenger is the same thing as rejecting God.

“This is the Day when the loved ones of God should keep their eyes directed towards His Manifestation, and fasten them upon whatsoever that Manifestation may be pleased to reveal. Certain traditions of bygone ages rest on no foundations whatever, while the notions entertained by past generations, and which they have recorded in their books, have, for the most part, been influenced by the desires of a corrupt inclination. Thou dost witness how most of the commentaries and interpretations of the words of God, now current amongst men, are devoid of truth. Their falsity hath, in some cases, been exposed when the intervening veils were rent asunder. They themselves have acknowledged their failure in apprehending the meaning of any of the words of God.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 171-172
 
Old 09-07-2017, 07:20 AM   #6
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Reading your perspectives is always interesting!!

Personally it seems to me that every time I think the cup is becoming full, I realize suddenly that the cup was a lot bigger than I had previously thought!!
 
Old 09-07-2017, 10:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Reading your perspectives is always interesting!!

Personally it seems to me that every time I think the cup is becoming full, I realize suddenly that the cup was a lot bigger than I had previously thought!!
Then you're lucky. Every time I think like "Wow, there seems to be much more room in the cup now", I realize that it's because there is a hole in the cup.

Best

from

gnat
 
Old 09-16-2017, 07:36 PM   #8
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Guys we are lucky to have these writings with us and are aware of the power within them. 'Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye 119 may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.' In the depths of the writings there is wisdom we are unaware of. We are very lucky ... Bahahullah even said if I remember correctly one verse of the scriptures is worth more then what's in the heavens and the earth if only but you knew. We are equipped the best!
 
Old 09-18-2017, 04:56 PM   #9
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Decode this please

The winds of tests are powerless to hold back them that enjoy near access to Thee from setting their faces towards the horizon of Thy glory, and the tempests of trials must fail to draw away and hinder such as are wholly devoted to Thy will from approaching Thy court

What's the meaning? I can't understand
 
Old 09-18-2017, 05:45 PM   #10
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The winds of tests are powerless to hold back them that enjoy near access to Thee from setting their faces towards the horizon of Thy glory, and the tempests of trials must fail to draw away and hinder such as are wholly devoted to Thy will from approaching Thy court

What's the meaning? I can't understand
It's easy. Once you realize that there is nothing worth holding on to in this world, you don't feel the the winds of test anymore. They just blow right through you.

Best

from

gnat, busy whistling "I am sailing"
 
Old 09-18-2017, 06:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnat View Post
Then you're lucky. Every time I think like "Wow, there seems to be much more room in the cup now", I realize that it's because there is a hole in the cup.
Certain people who do not like what is in my cup keep trying to poke holes in my cup and put their stuff in it but so far they have not succeeded... I do not have much else in my cup besides my beliefs and I am not letting anyone take them away.
 
Old 09-19-2017, 12:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yousefy2 View Post
The winds of tests are powerless to hold back them that enjoy near access to Thee from setting their faces towards the horizon of Thy glory, and the tempests of trials must fail to draw away and hinder such as are wholly devoted to Thy will from approaching Thy court

What's the meaning? I can't understand
I think it just means that tests will not get in the way of getting close to God.
 
Old 09-28-2017, 04:43 PM   #13
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Thanks you guys explained that well. Im now struggling with two verses which seem contradictory can you guys explain?

'Say: He is not to be numbered with the people of Bahá who followeth his mundane desires, or fixeth his heart on things of the earth. He is My true follower who, if he come to a valley of pure gold, will pass straight through it aloof as a cloud, and will neither turn back, nor pause. Such a man is, assuredly, of Me.'

'Should a man wish to adorn himself with the ornaments of the earth, to wear its apparels, or partake of the benefits it can bestow, no harm can befall him, if he alloweth nothing whatever to intervene between him and God, for God hath ordained every good thing, whether created in the heavens or in the earth, for such of His servants as truly believe in Him'

I feel as one side i should not be interested in the world and its things, on another i feel I should be excited to enjoy the things of the world which are permitted ?
 
Old 09-28-2017, 05:18 PM   #14
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Here's the key:
"If he alloweth nothing whatever to intervene between him and God"
God is the source of all good things. Enjoying a nice meal can be a way of showing appreciation for the gifts from God and receiving His love. Or it can be taken too far into gluttony and greed.
 
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