The Dao of Bahá:
Laozi and the Bahá'í Faith

By Roland Faber

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #109
Bosch Bahá'í School: Santa Cruz, California, USA
May 16–20, 2012
(see list of papers from #109)

    Not only advises Baha'u'llah the people of Baha to converse with adherents of all religions in the spirit of understanding and love, but he invokes the oneness of God, humanity, and creation as inherent reasons: all religions emanate from one source as all human beings are created from the same dust and reflect, as all of nature, the infinity of divine attributes. Such a universal revelation not only motivates to an interreligious dialogue within the confines of mutual otherness, but virtually necessitates a deeper conversation on a mutually inherent recognition of the hidden and in manifold ways manifest Reality in the mirror of these different religions.

    While Baha'i Scripture recognizes many of the great religious traditions, the Chinese religions, although the basis of one of the most ancient and powerful human efforts to built a peaceful and universal civilization, is barely mentioned. This is especially true for Daoism which, although it is an important contemporary world religion, remains virtually outside the articulated horizon of Baha'i awareness. Since the twofold symbol of the Daoist Scripture, the Dao De Jing, and its divine harbinger, Laozi, seem not fit into the Baha'i understanding of revelation and the succession of divine manifestations, the question arises, how to approach this great religious tradition in conversation with, and within the self-understanding of, the Baha'i Faith. The following thoughts are the preliminary attempt to gain a sensibility for the importance of such a quest from the perspective of the mission of the Baha'i Faith to facilitate the universal mutual understanding of religions and to reflect their unique contributions to oneness within its own arc.

this paper is not yet online