The illustration above is supposed to represent the concept of “Progressive Revelation” held by Baha’is. But there is a problem with it. Baha’u’llah, the one who actually founded the Baha’i Faith, never talked about Krishna, the Buddha, or Zoroaster as Prophets or Manifestations of God. He mentioned Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, and the Bab. NO ONE outside the line of “Abrahamic” religions, not even the one you would have expected, Zoroaster, who lived in ancient Persia and founded the religion that dominated Persia from his time all the way until the Islamic conquest of Persia.
Abdu’l-Baha, the son and successor of Baha’u’llah, spoke of the Manifestations of God as follows:
Prophets are in general of two kinds. Some are independent Prophets Who are followed, while others are not independent and are themselves followers.
The independent Prophets are each the Author of a divine religion and the Founder of a new Dispensation. At Their advent the world is clothed in a new attire, a new religion is established, and a new Book revealed. These Prophets acquire the outpouring grace of the divine Reality without an intermediary. Their radiance is an essential radiance like that of the sun, which is luminous in and of itself and whose luminosity is an essential requirement rather than being acquired from another star: They are like the sun and not the moon. These Daysprings of the morn of Divine Unity are the fountainheads of divine grace and the mirrors of the Essence of Reality.
The other kind of Prophets are followers and promulgators, for their station is contingent rather than independent. They acquire divine grace from the independent Prophets and seek the light of guidance from the reality of universal prophethood. They are like the moon, which is not luminous and radiant in and of itself but which receives its light from the sun.
The universal Prophets Who have appeared independently include Abraham, Moses, Christ, Muḥammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh. The second kind, which consists of followers and promulgators, includes Solomon, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. For the independent Prophets are founders; that is, They establish a new religion, recreate the souls, regenerate the morals of society, and promulgate a new way of life and a new standard of conduct. Through Them a new Dispensation appears and a new religion is inaugurated. Their advent is even as the springtime, when all earthly things don a new garment and find a new life.
As to the second kind of Prophets, who are followers, they promulgate the religion of God, spread His Faith, and proclaim His Word. They have no power or authority of their own, but derive theirs from the independent Prophets.
Note that he mentions Ezekiel as a lesser Prophet. But Ezekiel wasn’t a true Prophet. I debunked that idea here:
Then Abdu’l-Baha is asked about religious founders outside the western or Abrahamic line of religions.
Question: To which category do Buddha and Confucius belong?
Answer: Buddha also established a new religion and Confucius renewed the ancient conduct and morals, but the original precepts have been entirely changed and their followers no longer adhere to the original pattern of belief and worship. The founder of Buddhism was a precious Being Who established the oneness of God, but later His original precepts were gradually forgotten and displaced by primitive customs and rituals, until in the end it led to the worship of statues and images.
Consider, for example, that Christ admonished the people time and again to heed the Ten Commandments of the Torah and insisted upon their strict observance. Now, one of the Ten Commandments forbids the worship of images and statues.122 Yet today there are a myriad images and statues in the churches of certain Christian denominations. It is clear and evident, then, that the religion of God does not preserve its original precepts among the people, but that it is gradually changed and altered to the point of being entirely effaced, and thus a new Manifestation appears and a new religion is established. For if the former religion had not been changed and altered, there would be no need for renewal.
In the beginning, this tree was full of vitality and laden with blossoms and fruit, but gradually it grew old, spent, and barren, until it entirely withered and decayed. That is why the True Gardener will again plant a tender sapling of the same stock, that it may grow and develop day by day, extend its sheltering shade in this heavenly garden, and yield its prized fruit. So it is with the divine religions: With the passage of time, their original precepts are altered, their underlying truth entirely vanishes, their spirit departs, doctrinal innovations spring up, and they become a body without a soul. That is why they are renewed.
Our meaning is that the followers of Buddha and Confucius now worship images and statues and have become entirely unaware of the oneness of God, believing instead in imaginary gods, as did the ancient Greeks. But such were not their original precepts; indeed, their original precepts and conduct were entirely different.
Again, consider to what an extent the original precepts of the Christian religion have been forgotten and how many doctrinal innovations have sprung up. For example, Christ forbade violence and revenge and enjoined instead that evil and injury be met with benevolence and loving-kindness. But observe how many bloody wars have taken place among the Christian nations themselves and how much oppression, cruelty, rapacity, and bloodthirstiness have resulted therefrom! Indeed, many of these wars were carried out at the behest of the popes. It is therefore abundantly clear that, with the passage of time, religions are entirely changed and altered, and hence they are renewed.
People who have actually studied Buddhism would take great offense at how it is described there.
After I left the Bahá’í Faith, one of the first things I did was start studying Buddhism. I went and read some of the poli canon, I studied Zen and general Mahayana teachings, and studied meditations and books written by both modern and historical Buddhist scholars.
You can find some idolatry in Buddhism just the same as any religion, but to pass it off as merely that is reductionist, colonialist, ignorant, and downright bigoted. I’m not a Buddhist, but Buddhism and general eastern spiritual practices have provided me with FAR more spiritual understanding than anything Abdul bahá ever said or did. The fact Abdul Bahá had the audacity to lose Buddhism to such a great degree on its own is enough reason to call the bahai Faith bullshit.
I was infuriated when I studied Buddhism and found the Baha’i Faith lied to me for five years.
The Buddha isn’t a prophet and was not sent by any god. He is not a manifestation of god with unattainable innate knowledge. Gautama Buddha said ANY man or woman could become like him, he didn’t gate keep enlightenment like the Baha’i narrative does.
Did you read the recorded statements of Abdu’l-Baha about Buddhism and Confucianism in the book Some Answered Questions?
Yeah I have and I hate it. It essentially spits on the historical accounts of Buddhism and sets up this conspiracy theory that the religion was the oneness of God. It would be an understatement to call it a bastardization of the dharma. I doubt Abdul Baha has any education. He showed no proof of any divine knowledge of the religion and he had no possible resources to learn about Buddhism to any extensive amount. The material conditions at the time weren’t there.
The stuff about Confucianism just makes no sense. It claims the world has somehow lost Confucius’s teachings even though he wrote them down? It just seems like another excuse to not address the vast difference between the very foundations of both religions. Except it’s even worse in the case of Confucianism because the Confucianists were very firm legalists. I doubt we “lost” the original teachings.
And do I have to explain that the Baha’i Faith itself departed long ago from Baha’u’llah’s original teachings? When will it be renewed?
Efforts have been made to renew the Faith, but with almost no success. So I have accepted that it is doomed to collapse completely in a few more decades.
The next Manifestation of God is not expected to come for 1000 years after the time of Baha’u’llah and less than 200 years after the Baha’i Faith was founded, it has already been broken down into a degenerate cult. So we might as well just discard it and find a better way on our own.