Buddha as 'philosopher'

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Buddha as 'philosopher'

Postby Unity19 » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:54 am

There is still among many the belief that Gautama Buddha's teachings were philosophical henceforth making Him a philosopher. I know that as Baha’is we see Him as a Prophet:

1684. Buddha Was a Manifestation Like Christ

"The Buddha was a Manifestation of God, like Christ, but His followers do not possess His authentic Writings."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand, December 26, 1941: Letter from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand, 1923-1957, p. 41)
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 500)

Now a Buddhist (I am not sure which sect they belonged to), asked me once “why do Baha’is believe in Buddha, but Buddha did not believe in God and He mentioned it in His writings?” It did not occur to me at the time to ask for a reference on the claims that there is no God, but after doing some research I could not find anything to back that statement up, instead I found that in the scriptures explaining ‘The Eightfold Path’ He speaks of an Unborn (I believe this is a reference to God) to quote:

There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn…
(The Eightfold Path), Buddha, the Word

So why would many people (non-Buddhist’s) see Buddha as a philosopher as opposed to a Prophet and what was Buddha referring to, to make some draw that conclusion? Was it that He was just abating to the people of the time who were bound by superstition and believing in many gods and spirits that there aren’t God’s and just one God? Perhaps this is where the confusion was caused? (I know most Buddhist do believe in one God, its not all Buddhist’s).

Care to share some thoughts? Thankyou,


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Postby Keyvan » Thu Jun 01, 2006 12:16 pm

<b>Haifa Notes,</b> by Gayle Woolson, 1956, online at http://bahai-library.com/?file=woolson_haifa_notes :

The question was asked: If all the Prophets teach the same spiritual teachings, why does Buddha teach the existence of reincarnation and Baha'u'llah not?

The Guardian answered: "Not Buddha - the Buddhist priests. We do not have the original writings of Buddha, nor of Krishna, nor even of Zoroaster. We have the Gathas of Zoroaster which are authentic but these are only prayers. That is why Baha'u'llah and the Master do not quote these Prophets as we do not have their original writings. There are many books in these religions but they are not the original works. Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha quote the Quran which is authentic, and authentic verses of the New Testament, but do not quote these other Prophets for this reason. The Baha'is must be very appreciative of the fact that we have the original authentic works of the Bab, Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha.

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Postby Tahirih99 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:48 pm

I just joined in this forum recently and found your question interesting. My grand-parents and parents are Baha'is from Budhism background. This was briefly what they explained when we come across the same questions from seekers from Buddhism.

Each statement or sentence needs to be reivewed with the context that it was made. As it might be the case back at Buddha's time, the world God had been mis-interpreted as the King of the Higher Kingdom, with his limitations and this King was not Almighty. (Just like a King of a kinddom on earth). That is why Buddha said there is no God. Yet He referred to the Spirit of God in different terms.. ie. the Truth, The Ultimate Truth, The Unknown, the Unborn...

Again, we do not have authentic teachings of Budda in writing, and we do not know the circumtances and the context to be able explain what has really happened.

Not only so, language changes its meaning over time. The same common word may mean something so different ten years back, let alone it has been thousands of years.

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