On the Tao Te Ching, or Dao De Jing; the uniqueness of Toaism/Daoism; resonances with and differences from the Bahá’í universe; should Doaism be considered a genuine dispensation of a divine Manifestation.
published in Lights of Irfan, 19, pages 41-110 Wilmette: Haj Mehdi Arjmand Colloquium, 2018
Abstract: The coming considerations set out to frame this task in three related facets: First, they want to demonstrate the uniqueness of the contributions of Daoism especially as mediated through Laozi and the Dao De Jing to a future universal religious consciousness that the Bahá’í revelation is said to have instigated, although we might not yet be able to see its future contours clearly or at all. Second, they want to explicate resonances with and differences from the Bahá’í universe, less in principles, as both traditions are overwhelmingly compatible, but rather taking the(philosophical and religious) emphases into account that renders Daoism enlightening beyond its historical situatedness because of the genius of Laozi and the Laozi and their reception throughout history. Third, such considerations cannot avoid the question whether or not, if such a religion is one of the major expressions of the one source that has also animated Bahá’u’lláh, Daoism should be considered a genuine dispensation of a divine Manifestation; whether or not, then, the Laozi must be read as scripture, expressing the one revelation in a unique (historical) body; and whether or not the figure of Laozi and the book of the Dao De Jing should be considered a temple (haykal) of revelation in the sense that we would accept for the so-called “Big Five” (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism) with the addition of Zoroastrianism, all of which Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi recognized as genuine dispensations under the influence of a Manifestation. In other words, are we with Laozi and the Dao De Jing encountering a (lost) prophet and his book?