How do you reconcile Abdu'l Baha & Buddha re: reincarnation

Mar 2013
191
CA
#1
I'm back from hiatus. Thanks everyone for the support and nice messages. I'm taking things a little slower this time. Learnin' from my mistakes...

Ok, so the idea is that all of these main religions speak of the same ultimate truth/reality, right? So why is it that a central tenet of Buddhism is reincarnation, but this is disavowed by the Baha'is, and I think specifically Abdu'l Baha said it was "child's play"?

"No revelation from God has ever taught reincarnation; this is a man-made conception. The soul of man comes into being at conception." (To an individual believer, April 1, 1946)

Yet the Buddha's stories of numerous past lives are recorded in the Pali Jatakas. It's something that comes up again and again in other texts as well.

???
 
May 2013
1,786
forest falls california
#2
Reincarnation

I'm back from hiatus. Thanks everyone for the support and nice messages. I'm taking things a little slower this time. Learnin' from my mistakes...

Ok, so the idea is that all of these main religions speak of the same ultimate truth/reality, right? So why is it that a central tenet of Buddhism is reincarnation, but this is disavowed by the Baha'is, and I think specifically Abdu'l Baha said it was "child's play"?

"No revelation from God has ever taught reincarnation; this is a man-made conception. The soul of man comes into being at conception." (To an individual believer, April 1, 1946)

Yet the Buddha's stories of numerous past lives are recorded in the Pali Jatakas. It's something that comes up again and again in other texts as well.

>>>>>> The "Next World"

The only sense I can make out of "reincarnation" is that it corresponds to "going to heaven". However, if the audience in the age you are speaking to cannot comprehend such a reality beyond "this" world that we are living in, composed of atoms, elements, minerals, plants, animals, and people, then any reference to an "afterlife" is going to cause them to think of coming back here, or being reborn into this world, the only world we know.
Since the "sayings" of Buddha, or the traditions ascribed to him are questionable in their authenticity, and were not written down until several centuries later, then they become parallel, in a sense, with say, the stories of Moses in the Pentateuch. ie, the talking snake, the Ark, parting the Red Sea, etc, which only make sense to the rational mind when interpreted metaphorically.
Even people in Christ's time had a hard time wrapping their brains around such concepts as "Ye must be born again", and "Let the dead bury the dead"
 
Oct 2011
4,213
Quilimari,Chile
#3
I'm back from hiatus. Thanks everyone for the support and nice messages. I'm taking things a little slower this time. Learnin' from my mistakes...

Ok, so the idea is that all of these main religions speak of the same ultimate truth/reality, right? So why is it that a central tenet of Buddhism is reincarnation, but this is disavowed by the Baha'is, and I think specifically Abdu'l Baha said it was "child's play"?

"No revelation from God has ever taught reincarnation; this is a man-made conception. The soul of man comes into being at conception." (To an individual believer, April 1, 1946)

Yet the Buddha's stories of numerous past lives are recorded in the Pali Jatakas. It's something that comes up again and again in other texts as well.

???
Dear Rose, You say the central tenet of Buddhism is reincarnation, but is it?

We are told that the Buddhists do not have the original writings of Buddha. Most say that Buddha never taught about God, but according to some inscriptions this also is not correct.

Question. -- To which category do Buddha and Confucius belong?
Answer. -- Buddha also established a new religion, and Confucius renewed morals and ancient virtues, but their institutions have been entirely destroyed. The beliefs and rites of the Buddhists and Confucianists have not continued in accordance with their fundamental teachings. The founder of Buddhism was a wonderful soul. He established the Oneness of God, but later the original principles of His doctrines gradually disappeared, and ignorant customs and ceremonials arose and increased until they finally ended in the worship of statues and images.

Abdu'l-Baha : Some Answered Questions
 
Aug 2012
62
united states
#4
I'm back from hiatus. Thanks everyone for the support and nice messages. I'm taking things a little slower this time. Learnin' from my mistakes...

Ok, so the idea is that all of these main religions speak of the same ultimate truth/reality, right? So why is it that a central tenet of Buddhism is reincarnation, but this is disavowed by the Baha'is, and I think specifically Abdu'l Baha said it was "child's play"?

"No revelation from God has ever taught reincarnation; this is a man-made conception. The soul of man comes into being at conception." (To an individual believer, April 1, 1946)

Yet the Buddha's stories of numerous past lives are recorded in the Pali Jatakas. It's something that comes up again and again in other texts as well.

???
Rose,

As a matter of fact as Bahai's we do believe in reincarnation, however not in the way that it is usually thought of. Death is only a transition where we are born again, or reincarnated, into a new world, a spiritual world of God that is different from this physical one. Because we believe that the soul is a spiritual entity that belongs in the Kingdom of God, that is where it will return to, it cannot come back into this physical world but must move on.
 
Oct 2011
4,213
Quilimari,Chile
#5
Rose,

As a matter of fact as Bahai's we do believe in reincarnation, however not in the way that it is usually thought of. Death is only a transition where we are born again, or reincarnated, into a new world, a spiritual world of God that is different from this physical one. Because we believe that the soul is a spiritual entity that belongs in the Kingdom of God, that is where it will return to, it cannot come back into this physical world but must move on.
I like that explanation :yes:
 
May 2013
1,786
forest falls california
#6
Well said

As a matter of fact as Bahai's we do believe in reincarnation, however not in the way that it is usually thought of. Death is only a transition where we are born again, or reincarnated, into a new world, a spiritual world of God that is different from this physical one. Because we believe that the soul is a spiritual entity that belongs in the Kingdom of God, that is where it will return to, it cannot come back into this physical world but must move on.[/QUOTE]

>>> From that perspective, this life will be our "past life" when we are born from the womb of this world into the next world of God, which He has prepared for us. The only thing that dies is our body, which is an accumulation of elements necessary for the stage of life we presently find ourselves in. In the "next life", or next phase of our existence, we won't be dependent upon these physical elements.
The nutrients which we will need will be spiritual in nature, ie, the virtues we acquire while in what we are calling "this life", which is in essence the fetal stage preparing us for we are calling the "next life", right?
It seems that human language is incapable of any more than a rudimentary description of this process, and that we are limited to metaphors which do, however crudely, give us an idea that at least we should pay attention in class... ;-)
 
Jun 2009
473
earth
#7
I think this quotataion is of relevance. It is not specifically referring to Buddhist beliefs but does show the Bahá'í outlook on the subject. Also, I would suggest that the teachings of Buddah became interpreted by people who already understood the world from a certain perspective.

"As to what thou hast written concerning "Reincarnation": Believing in reincarnation is one of the old tenets held by most nations and creeds, as well as by the Greek and Roman philosophers and wise men, the old Egyptian and the chief Assyrians. But all these sayings and superstitions are vanity in the sight of God.

The greatest [argument] produced by those who held to reincarnation has been this: "That it is necessary to the justice of God to give every one his due. Now everybody who is afflicted by any calamity is said to have sinned; but when a little child, which is still in the womb of its mother and hath just been formed, is found to be blind, deaf or imperfect, how could it have committed 643 any sin that we might say this imperfection is given to it as a punishment therefor -- so, though such a child hath no done outwardly any sin in the womb of its mother, yet [they say] it must have sinned when it was in its former body, which hath caused it to suffer this punishment."

Indeed, these people have been negligent of the fact that had the creation been carried out in a uniform fashion, how could the statement be true, that "God doeth whatever He wisheth and God doeth whatever he desireth!"[1]
[1. Abdul-Baha elucidated Jesus' teaching against the theory of "blindness from birth" and the defects being caused by the sin of the individual in a former state (see St. John 9:1-3), thus: "Jesus states that this defect exists in order to prove and show that the gift of sight is from God alone and is one of his bounties. Because were all created with sight the people would consider it a mere natural fact that they must be so made, and not give God thanks for His great gift." -- Translator.]

Though the fact of "Return" is mentioned in the Divine Books, by this is intended the return of the qualities, characters, perfections, truths and lights (of the past age), which re-appear in every age, and not (the return) of certain persons and souls. For example: If we say this lamp is the return of that of last night, or that the last year's flower hath returned in the garden (this year), in this sense the return of the individual, or identity, or personality is not meant; nay, rather, it is intended that the same qualities and states existing in that lamp or flower, which are now seen in this lamp or flower, have returned. That is, the same perfections and virtues and properties which existed in the past springtime have returned during this present springtime. For instance: When one says, these fruits are the same as those of last year; in this sense, he hath reference to the freshness and delicacy of the fruit, which hath returned, although there is no doubt that the identical fruit of last year hath not returned.

Have the friends of God found such enjoyments and repose during their existence on this visible earth, that they might wish to have their return renewed and repeated constantly? Are all these calamities, injuries, trials and difficulties of the once coming not sufficient for them that they should wish a repeated life in this world? Hath this cup been of such sweetness that they should long for it successively and repeatedly? No! the friends of the Beauty of El-Baha never seek any recompense or reward except the meeting and the visit (of God) in the Kingdom of El-Baha; and they never walk but in the valley of desire to attain the Supreme Height. They only wish the immortal blessing and the eternal gift, which are sanctified above the worldly understanding.

Because, when thou lookest with the iron sight, thou wilt find that all mankind is suffering in this earthly world; there is no one in such tranquility that this (state) might have been a reward for his good deeds in a former life and there is no soul so happy that this might be the fruit of his past pain! Had the life of a man in his spiritual being been only confined to his life in this world, the creation would have proved useless; the divine qualities would have no result and effect; nay, all things, created beings and the world of creation would have proved abortive. I ask pardon of God for such false imaginations and for such errors!

As the usefulness and powers of the life (of a child) were not seen in that dark and narrow world (of the womb), but when it is brought into this vast world, all 645 the use of its growth and development becometh manifest and obvious in it, so likewise, reward and punishment, paradise and hell, and the requital of deeds and actions done by it in the present life become manifest and evident when it is transferred to the world to come -- which is far from this world! Had the life and growth of the child in the womb been confined to that condition, then the existence of the child in the womb would have proved utterly abortive and unintelligible; as would the life of this world, were its deeds, actions and their results not to appear in the world to come.

Therefore, know thou that the True One possesseth invisible worlds which human meditation is unable to comprehend and the intellect of man hath no power to imagine. When thou wilt purify and clarify thy spiritual nostrils from every worldly moisture, then thou wilt inhale the holy fragrances diffusing from the merciful gardens of these worlds."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v3, p. 644)
 
Mar 2013
191
CA
#8
Appreciate the input guys.

I guess this keeps coming up for me. Anything that is contradictory is explained away a little to conveniently. "Well, he never actually said that," or "It's just symbolism, and we have the decoder ring."

=\

Bit frustrated still. From earlier. Forgive me.
 
Jan 2012
217
Pleasant Plains, Arkansas
#9
I never have any problem with it.
The Buddha did not teach the transmigration of the soul. The Theravada Buddhists, the oldest sect of Buddhism, do not even believe in the soul. Yet they still believe in reincarnation. So, what is being reincarnated? Attributes. People reincarnate in the same way that John the Baptist was Elijah. In other words: they don't. But certain aspects do. John was Elijah in that He had the spirit and power of Elijah. Not the soul.
 
May 2013
1,786
forest falls california
#10
Attributes are Resurrected

I never have any problem with it.
The Buddha did not teach the transmigration of the soul. The Theravada Buddhists, the oldest sect of Buddhism, do not even believe in the soul. Yet they still believe in reincarnation. So, what is being reincarnated? Attributes. People reincarnate in the same way that John the Baptist was Elijah. In other words: they don't. But certain aspects do. John was Elijah in that He had the spirit and power of Elijah. Not the soul.
>>> and this, too, is the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ, Who appeared in the changed reality of His disciples. "He entered the room, not using the door..."
What Thomas "saw" was that "He" was in "them", and they were in Him.

The reality of Christ was not His physical body, which was crucified, but His Holy Attributes, which were now manifest in those who truly believed in Him.
This is the meaning of the Resurrection. He was, in fact, present in the "body of Christ", in the believers, those who truly recognized Him, obeyed Him, and sacrificed themselves as He had done. Emptied of their own selves, they were now the manifestations of His will and good-pleasure.

Thus, Thomas "saw" in them His Beauty, His Reality, His Sacrifice. Before this, he would not believe.
 

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