Baha'i

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Baha'i is a religion founded by Baha'u'lla who was born in Persia in 1817 and who claimed to be a prophet of God. The Baha'i faith has a strong commitment to social justice, human equality and inter-religious harmony and in this sense has much in common with Buddhism. A central tenet of Baha'i is that all religions are just different expressions of the same eternal truth taught by Baha'u'llah.

A recent Baha'i publication says of Buddhism that Baha'u'llah ‘fulfils the prophecies of the coming Maitreya Buddha of universal fellowship who, according to Buddhist traditions, will bring peace and enlightenment to all humanity.’ In fact, Baha'u'llah fulfilled none of these prophecies. The most ancient Buddhist tradition says that Maitreya will only come after the Dhamma has disappeared from the world, that he will be born in India, that he will be a monk and that he will proclaim the Four Noble Truths. Nor will Maitreya claim to be a prophet of God as did Baha'u'llah, because being enlightened, he will understand the truth of natural causation and therefore know that there is no supreme god.

Inter-religious harmony is a noble and worthy goal. But it is best promoted by acknowledging, sympathising with and trying to understand the differences between various religions, not by watering them down until they all appear to be the same. True tolerance is the acceptance of diversity, not the denying of it.

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