上个星期收到STC发来的关于蔡德贵教授讲述巴哈伊教特点视频邮件,转贴如下。

视频简单提到巴哈伊教九大特点:

  1. 现代性
  2. 开放性
  3. 超越性
  4. 世俗性
  5. 宽容性
  6. 融合性
  7. 务实性
  8. 灵活性
  9. 创造性

详情文字版可参考蔡教授的一篇文章:

巴哈伊的特點及迅速傳播的原因 (上)
巴哈伊的特點及迅速傳播的原因 (下)

Received this letter in February from Melic, it has been on the priority box for almost 4 months.

Processing Personal Pain — A Baha’i View

O God, my God! Lowly, suppliant and fallen upon my face, I beseech Thee with all the ardor of my invocation to pardon whosoever hath hurt me, forgive him that hath conspired against me and offended me, and wash away the misdeeds of them that have wrought injustice upon me. Vouchsafe unto them Thy goodly gifts, give them joy, relieve them from sorrow, grant them peace and prosperity, give them Thy bliss and pour upon them Thy bounty. Thou art the Powerful, the Gracious, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting!

This was Abdu’l-Baha’s prayer for God to forgive and bless people who had been incredibly malicious to him for many years. It is highly instructive for anyone who wishes to see how the Baha’i Scriptures urge one to process pain — in this case, pain caused by treachery.

We all experience pain — caused by loved ones who prove false; friends who hurt our feelings; disappointments with ourselves or with others; grief and longing. The natural tendency at such a time is to isolate ourselves, nurse our wounds, and numb the pain. In a letter to a Baha’i who had been libeled, Abdu’l-Baha urged him at such a time to increase his services in the Path of God, and to seek neither to be praised by others, nor to be upset by their blame:

“If one is praised and chosen by God, the accusation of all the creatures will cause no loss to him; and if the man is not accepted in the threshold of God, the praise and admiration of all men will be of no use to him. By all these it is meant that thou must not be sorry and grieved because of these things … written against thee; nay, rather trust in God and be unmoved by either the praise or the false accusations declared by people towards thee, depend entirely on God and exert thyself to serve His holy vineyard.”

Whatever its cause, pain, properly used, can be an incentive to spiritual growth. In his work “The Seven Valleys“, which describes the stages of the seeking soul in its quest for the knowledge of God, Baha’u’llah states, “if there be no pain, this journey will never end.”

In this same passage, Baha’u’llah quotes the Persian mystic poet Attar, whom I here paraphrase: Let the believer keep his faith; let the unbeliever keep his doubt. Attar’s heart seeks pain — even an atom of pain. Attar understood the preciousness of pain in the path of personal growth. This is also expressed in this prayer by Baha’u’llah, which will help to process one’s pain and soothe one’s soul:

“Glory to Thee, O my God! But for the tribulations which are sustained in Thy path, how could Thy true lovers be recognized; and were it not for the trials which are borne for love of Thee, how could the station of such as yearn for Thee be revealed? Thy might beareth me witness! The companions of all who adore Thee are the tears they shed, and the comforters of such as seek Thee are the groans they utter, and the food of them who haste to meet Thee is the fragments of their broken hearts.”

Pain, put to good use, is an incentive to change, a stimulus to draw us closer to God, and a means of purifying our motives. I have personally found that directly trying to reduce the pain is counterproductive. Rather, I embrace the pain, and work with it. I recall reading a Persian aphorism in a book many years ago: “If a moment burns — let it burn.” I have found this to be great advice. I ask myself what is causing the pain, and resolve to change within me whatever brought it about. Whether it is the pain of exposure of my own shortcomings, or pain caused by another, if I let it burn inside, and if I view it as burning away my ego, I find, without exception, that it does me no harm and causes me to grow. This is consistent with this guidance received from Shoghi Effendi:

” … suffering, although an inescapable reality, can nevertheless be utilised as a means for the attainment of happiness. This is the interpretation given to it by all the prophets and saints who, in the midst of severe tests and trials, felt happy and joyous and experienced what is best and holiest in life. Suffering is both a reminder and a guide. It stimulates us better to adapt ourselves to our environmental conditions, and thus leads the way to self improvement.”

In Marjory Morten’s description of Baha’u’llah’s daughter Bahiyyih Khanum, and her high state of spiritual attainment in dealing with pain, she writes:

“Something greater than forgiveness she had shown in meeting the cruelties and strictures in her own life. To be hurt and to forgive is saintly, but far beyond this is the power to comprehend and not be hurt.”

And,

” … if one tried to hurt her, she would wish to console him for his own cruelty.”

Sometimes the source of pain is much deeper than emotional pain, and expresses the state of a soul who has not found God. Baha’u’llah identifies this with the “Great Tribulation” anticipated by Christians. Referring to it as “oppression” in this passage from his “Book of Certitude,” in the course of his elucidation of the meaning of the signs of Christ’s return, Baha’u’llah writes:

What “oppression” is more grievous than that a soul seeking the truth, and wishing to attain unto the knowledge of God, should know not where to go for it and from whom to seek it?

The Word of God brought to earth in every age causes a tumult in the human soul. In one’s inner being and in the world at large, there is chaos before there is resolution and a higher order, as Baha’u’llah expresses in one of his meditations:

“I testify that no sooner had the First Word proceeded, through the potency of Thy will and purpose, out of His mouth, and the First Call gone forth from His lips than the whole creation was revolutionized, and all that are in the heavens and all that are on earth were stirred to the depths. Through that Word the realities of all created things were shaken, were divided, separated, scattered, combined and reunited, disclosing, in both the contingent world and the heavenly kingdom, entities of a new creation, and revealing, in the unseen realms, the signs and tokens of Thy unity and oneness. Through that Call Thou didst announce unto all Thy servants the advent of Thy most great Revelation and the appearance of Thy most perfect Cause.”

Suffering is an inevitable part of living. By identifying the source of our pain, making the necessary adjustments in our life, and striving to use it as an incentive to rendering greater service, pain can be seen as one more of the God-given tools we can use to draw closer to Him. As Shoghi Effendi’s guidance says:

“It is part of the Preciousness of this great work being done in the teaching field that it should be done through real sacrifices and not without heartaches attending it. There is a tendency in the American outlook on life at present to believe that suffering is produced by clumsiness and is not only avoidable but not a good thing, and not essential. While there is some truth in this attitude, we as Baha’is cannot but believe that suffering is often an essential part of our service. The Prophets suffered bitterly, so did all the Saints and Martyrs, and often ‘fed on the fragments of those broken hearts’, as Baha’u’llah says in one of His beautiful prayers.”

齋節期的默思
第十九日 真正的尋找者

祈禱文:

在你令人敬畏的尊嚴前,萬物都在顫抖,眾人萬事都在你的掌握中,你所有創造物的臉都轉向了你的恩惠與仁慈!以你的聖名,我祈求你,通過你聖名之天國及聖名之聖靈,將我們與那些遠離你者的耳語隔離開,他們已棄絕了在這一顯聖中使萬名之國振動的你那威嚴而至高的自我。

我的主啊!我是你女僕中的一名。我已將我的臉轉向了你恩賜仁惠的聖殿和你那為人愛慕的榮耀之居所。淨化我中一切不屬於你的,增加我的力量來愛你並履行你的喜悅,以使我在心中默禱你的圣美時能得以快樂,並拋棄一切對你創造物的依戀,並時刻宣稱:“頌揚上帝,世界之主!”

我的主啊!讓我的食物就是你的圣美,我的飲料即是你臨在的光輝,我的希望即你的喜悅,我的工作即對你的讚美,我的伴侶即對你的記憶,我的援助即你的至大尊嚴,我的居所即你的住地,使我的家成為你超越於與你以面紗相隔者的那無垠之所的座席。

真實地,你是權威、力量和榮耀的上帝。

— 巴哈歐拉《祈禱與冥想》

閱讀材料:

我的兄弟啊!當一位真正的探求真理者決心要尋覓那認識恒古之神的道途時,他必須先淨化他的心靈,掃除他心中一切後天獲取之知識所帶來的污黑灰塵,並且清除一切邪惡妄想的化身與引喻。心靈乃是啟示上帝內在奧秘的所在地。他必須洗淨他的胸懷,使其毫無污點。胸懷乃是鍾愛者不朽之愛的聖所。他必須使他的靈魂聖潔,超脫一切水土的附屬物和所有虛幻與短暫的眷戀。他必須如此淨化其心靈,以致其心不存在任何愛與恨的痕跡,以免愛會使他盲目地傾向錯誤,而恨會使他排斥真理。甚至在今天這個日子裡,你亦可見證到多數人為了這種愛與恨,無法接近永生的面容,遠離了神聖奧秘的化身,並且有如無人放牧的羊群,在湮沒於迷失的荒野中遊蕩。

那位探求真理者必須時時刻刻仰賴上帝,必須放棄追隨世人,必須隔離一切世俗的塵埃,必須緊靠著萬君之主。他絕對不能自命清高,他必須洗除心中所有驕傲與虛榮的念頭,必須墨守忍耐與謙順的美德,必須沉默寡言並且迴避無謂的空談。因為口舌好比燃燒的火焰,過多的言語有如致命的毒藥。有形的火焰可以燒傷人體,口舌的焰舌蝕人的心田與靈魂;前者的力量只能持續一段時間,而後的影響卻能持續一個世紀。

— 巴哈歐拉《聖典選集》

探求真理者也應當把背後誹謗視為嚴重的過失,並且遠離它的領域,因為背後誹謗足以撲滅心靈光輝,扼殺靈魂的生命。他應該以少而滿足,並且不存在過度的渴望。他應該珍惜那些世俗者的友誼,並且迴避傲慢的俗人。每天清晨,他應當與上帝交談,全心全意地尋求他所鍾愛的上帝。他應該用他慈愛的火焰,燒盡所有恣意妄為的想法,並且快如閃電一般,除他之外掠過一切。他應當救濟患難者,並且絕不吝嗇地施恩給貧窮的人。他應該仁慈地對待動物,更何況是對待賦有語言能力的同類。他應當毫不猶豫地為其所鍾愛的上帝獻出他的生命,不應為了他人的譴責而背離了真理。不希望發生在自己身上的事,就不應該希望它發生在別人的身上。他不應當許下自己不能履行的諾言。他應該全心全意地避免與惡人交往,並且為赦免他們的罪過而祈禱。他應該原諒犯罪的人,並且絕不輕視他低微的身份,因為沒有人能預料自己的結局。有多少次,一個犯罪的人在其死亡之刻得到信仰的精髓,並且暢飲永生的靈泉,而能飛向天上聖靈的行列!有多少次,一個虔誠的信徒,在其靈魂離世之際,完全改變而陷入最低下的煎熬之火!

我們啟示這些令人信服與意味深長的訓言是為了要探求真理的人,深切地認識到,除了上帝之外,所有的事物都變化多端的,並且除他之外,一切都是虛無空洞的。他乃是眾人仰慕的對象。

這些品質都是高超者的屬性,成為精神高尚者的金印。這些都是談到走積極之道的人所具備的條件時談過的。當一個超脫的旅行者和誠懇的尋求者實踐了這些主要條件以後,這樣他才配稱為一個真正尋求真理的人。當他實踐了書簡中所寫的“誰努力尋求我們”的真正意義時,他必定能獲得“我們必定在我們的聖道上指引他”這句話的祝福。

— 巴哈歐拉《聖典選集》

反省:

誰是真正的尋找者?

已經接受了巴哈歐拉的巴哈伊信徒可以仍是尋道人嗎?

我們是什麼的尋道人?

版權所有@澳門巴哈伊研習中心
齋節期的默思
第十八日 奉獻與投入

祈禱文:

上帝啊!上帝啊!在你所創造的萬物中,你見到我的弱點、謙誠和卑微,但有賴於你的威權,我已信託了你,在你強有力的僕人中為你的教導而奮起提倡!

主啊!我是折翼之鳥期望在你無限的空間翱翔,除蒙你的眷佑和恩寵,你的承認和協助,我是不可能的。

主啊!憐憫我的柔弱以你的權威使我堅強!

主啊!憐憫我的無能,以你的萬能和尊嚴賜我以扶助!

主啊!若有聖靈的氣息來強化創造物中最弱者,他將能到達偉大的最高地位而得有他所期望的一切。真確的,他們是你過去所協助的僕人,他們是你創造物中最弱的,你僕人中最幼稚的,居住在地球上最卑微的,但蒙你的核准和威權,他們得以在你最光榮的人民中,和你最高貴的人類中,佔有優先。故而他們以前雖似飛蛾,現時卻似鷹隼,他們以前有如泡沫而今卻成了海洋。蒙你的賜予,你的慈悲和你的最大恩惠,他們變成了明星在導引的天邊發光,變成了飛鳥在你永生不滅的玫瑰園中歌唱,變成了猛獅在他知識和智慧之林中歡喚,變成了鯨魚在你生命之洋中游動。

真確的,你是寬恕的、全權的、全能的、慈悲者中最慈悲的。

— 阿博都·巴哈《神聖計劃之書簡》

閱讀材料:

偉大的聖名為我見證,倘若今日有人一心寄託於世界的短暫事物,是多麼的可悲啊!起來謹守上蒼的聖道吧,你們必須相互親愛。為了至愛的主的緣故,以不滅的愛火燒毀自私的面紗,以爽朗歡樂的臉面對你們的鄰居朋友。你們已很清楚地觀察到了在各方面你們中的他,那真理之言的他的表現。我們完全明白,即使是一晚上也很難讓這青年使上帝鍾愛著中的任何一個為他而傷心。

上帝之言已點燃了世人的心靈之火,若你未為其火焰所點亮那是多麼的遺憾啊!請求上帝將這祝福之夜作為團結之夜。將我們的心靈團結起來,並以良好而值得讚頌的品格之華飾來裝飾自身。願你們最關注的是拯救那些面臨絕滅的深淵的人,協助他們擁抱上蒼的古老信仰。你們對待鄰居朋友的行為,須清楚地表現上蒼的象徵,因為你們是人類中,最先受他的聖靈重新創造的。你們是首先景仰他,拜倒在他的眼前的人,你們是最先環繞在他光榮寶座的周圍的人。我以那致使我啟示他所樂道的言語者作誓!天堂的居者了解你們,勝過你們了解你們自己。你們以為這些話是空虛的嗎?願你們有能力了解,慈悲的主所了解的事物……上蒼允諾,你們不致受了慾望及不羈的感情的阻礙,而仍能獲得上蒼命定給你們的恩賜。

— 巴哈歐拉《聖典選集》

信賴與上帝的恩賜。不要著眼於你自己的能力,因為神聖的惠賜能將水滴變為汪洋大海;能使微小的種子長成大樹。誠然,神聖的惠賜就似大海,而我們乃海中的游魚。魚不能僅看到自身,他們必須放眼大洋,那是廣闊而奇妙的。眾生所需都在此大洋。因此,神聖的賜福包圍一切,永恆之愛照耀一切。

— 阿博都·巴哈《世界和平的宣揚》

反省:

世界正義院153年的雷茲萬節文告中,說到了個人所獲得力量,以發展傳導信仰之能力。你記得都是哪些嗎?

版權所有@澳門巴哈伊研習中心