Specific Teachings

Sacrifice

sacrifice

The concept of sacrifice is integral to religion. Like other religious concepts it has undergone transformation over the ages. The concept of sacrifice was integrally connected with religious ritual.  For example, animal sacrifices were widespread in ancient times. The practice gave way in Judaism (after destruction of the Temple) and in Christianity and other faiths…

Healing

healing

Healing has a deep connection with the work of the messengers of God. We may, for example, think of the many stories and parables of healing that are recounted in the Gospels. However, while the healing of the individual – physical or spiritual – can be involved, it goes far beyond that. The individual can…

Trees of Meaning

trees

Trees are a recurring metaphor in Bahá’u’lláh’s writings and the Baha’i writings more generally. Here are a few examples. Trees are a metaphor for transformation of the human heart. Incline your hearts, O people of God, unto the counsels of your true, your incomparable Friend. The Word of God may be likened unto a sapling,…

Plan B – The Lesser Peace

lesser peace

* * * As noted previously, Bahá’u’lláh wrote to kings and rulers. He did not expect them to accept his proclamation of messianic fulfilment. Indeed he knew they would not. In his message to Queen Victoria he sets out an alternative for the world’s rulers: an alternative he refers to as the Lesser Peace. Now…

Bahá’u’lláh on Human Rights

Abdu’l Baha would, in his talks in 1911 and 1912 introducing Bahá’u’lláh’s teaching, identify a list of principles drawn from the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. The list was not always exactly the same – and Abdu’l Baha would often introduce them with words such as “and among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh”. We have already explored some…

Achieving Unity

achieving unity

It was not obvious when Bahá’u’lláh stated it, but it is obvious today. The problems of the world cannot be solved and human welfare and peace cannot be achieved, until humanity’s unity “is firmly established”. Yet if we look around the world, there is nothing more obvious than the divisions that beset human beings. No two men…

Detachment from the Material World

detachment from the world

Bahá’u’lláh calls us to a spiritual life – but not an ascetic one. As discussed in a previous article, Bahá’u’lláh does not teach that the material world is inherently bad.  It is the matrix within which our spiritual beings develop. And material reality speaks to us of the divine world. Yet, material existence is not…