All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. – Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 215.

Does humankind have a future? Will we be able to survive and thrive in the face of enormous problems like the environmental crisis, especially climate change, and the world’s worsening political and social instability? I would like to share why I am confident that humankind will develop an environmentally sustainable and socially just civilization.

Last October, the United Nations issued a new Sustainable Development Agenda, a comprehensive framework for action to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the year 2030. These goals encompass four areas at the heart of sustainable development. One article about the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development highlights these four areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet as follows :

  • People – We are determined to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfill their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.
  • Planet – We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.
  • Prosperity – We are determined to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.
  • Peace – We are determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.

These goals look beautiful on paper—but will we ever achieve them? Due to the erroneous perception of the inherently aggressive nature of human beings and of the widespread myth that the economic system depends on the unlimited exploitation of people and nature, much of our society has accepted the unfair and cruel treatment of people and the destruction of the environment as inevitable. Such views stand in the way of implementing these important goals.

The Baha’i International Community (BIC) wrote a statement in response to Agenda 2030, called “Summoning Our Common Will,” which focuses exactly on this problem of implementation:

Many have noted that the true test of Agenda 2030 will be its practical implémentations. Particularly important will be the degree that its efforts are able to secure the commitment, support and labours of the peoples of the world… The Secretary-General of the UN, for example, declared that “If we are to succeed, the new agenda cannot remain the exclusive domain of institutions and governments. It must be embraced by people.”

Not only governments and international agencies need to work on the Sustainable Development goals—every person on the planet must become involved!

Summoning Our Common Will then focuses on the question: “How do individuals and communities become motivated to contribute their efforts toward a higher cause, with no expectation of immediate, material recompense?”

Faith has shown itself to be key in this regard. Whether faith in the efficacy of the development process, the capacity of the human race, the virtues of family, community, or a host of other ideals, the combination of conviction and aspiration has been central to generating motivation. Among these, religious faith plays a unique and vital role in global development efforts. – p. 6.

Therefore, one reason to have confidence in the future—many people of different faiths all around the world are deeply committed to work for the well-being of people and of the planet.

Some knowledge, though, seems to be a prerequisite for meaningful action, as the BIC statement points out:

The link between religious conviction and service to the common good, however, is by no means automatic. It is entirely possible, for example, to have a congregation of noble-thinking and well-intentioned adherents whose actions do little to contribute to the betterment of society. Clearly there is much to learn about how noble ideals become expressed in committed, sustained action. In this sense, religious communities can be understood as communities of practice in which spiritual teachings are translated into social reality.

The statement then offers the Baha’i community as an example, and explains how Baha’is work to “translate moral and spiritual precepts into the practical forms of a new social reality”:

Baha’is around the globe, in a wide range of settings, are striving to establish a pattern of activity and community life that helps translate moral and spiritual precepts into the practical forms of a new social reality. The Baha’i community readily acknowledges that to uphold high ideals and to become their embodiment are not the same thing. Yet we remain committed to this path of learning, and seek to pursue it not only in explicitly “religious” settings or “development” venues, but across all spheres of life.

Everywhere, Baha’is get together with people of all faiths to study spiritual teachings and apply them to every-day life. Baha’is also offer classes for children and youth that prepare them to become responsible world citizens empowered to address the vital needs of humankind. All these Baha’i classes are free, and available practically everywhere on the planet, with the intention to spiritualize society and to help people in neighborhoods collaboratively work together to improve their living conditions.

In addition, the Wilmette Institute will offer an online course on Sustainable Development and the Prosperity of Humankind, covering issues such as extreme poverty, economic injustice, and the environmental crisis. Course participants will develop a vision of how a spiritual, just, and environmentally sustainable civilization could emerge, and discuss how we can all become agents of change to get there. There is a fee for this course to cover expenses, but there are scholarships available for anyone who needs one. The course will run from September 10 through October 28, 2016. To learn more about the course, or to sign up, click here.

That’s another reason for confidence—growing numbers of people are engaged in continuous education and developing their capacity to improve their own lives and their communities.

Some people may argue that, as individuals, we have no influence on the global problems addressed in the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda. How can we contribute to ending “poverty and hunger” and to ensuring “that all human beings can fulfill their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment”?

Baha’is believe that sustainability begins in our thoughts, which then translate into reality with wiser decisions. Faith and knowledge will empower us to address the problems confronting our communities. The documentary video Frontiers of Learning illustrates how a culture of spiritual learning and service enables communities on four different continents to transform aspects of their society. As the BIC statement Summoning Our Common Will says, we can learn to build together a “spiritually and materially prospering world civilization.” Won’t you join us?

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BahaiTeachings.org or any institution of the Baha’i Faith.

11 Comments

characters remaining
  • Aug 23, 2016
    The belief of the Soka Gakkai centers on recognizing that all life has dignity and has infinite potential and that the immanent "Buddhahood" exists in every person and can be awakened through the Buddhist practice prescribed by Nichiren. Further, a person's social actions at every moment (the theory of the interdependence of life) can lead to soka, or the creation of value. Societal change is facilitated through "human revolution," a way of living in the world that creates value. Many materials published by the Soka Gakkai convey the belief that members who share Nichiren's vow are the Bodhisattvas of the ...Earth. The daily practice of Soka Gakkai members consists of chanting of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the Gohonzon with "earnest resolve" as well as the study of Nichiren Buddhism and the daily recitation of specific sections of the Lotus Sutra ("gongyo", or "assiduous practice"). The practice of chanting requires developing strong resolve to reveal inner "Buddhahood," applying the ideals of Buddhism to daily life, and determining to accomplish specific goals. These efforts are linked to proselytizing to spread the ideals of the Lotus Sutra and to thereby effect a spiritual and cultural change in society. The practice also entails attending monthly discussion meetings, and fostering capable people.
    Soka Gakkai members believe Nichiren drew his teachings exclusively from the Lotus Sutra and then clarified its essence in a way accessible to all people. He claimed to encapsulate the practice of Buddhism in the invocation Nam-myoho-renge-kyo which can be translated, among other ways, as "Adoration of the Lotus Sutra." Soka Gakkai members use the Lotus Sutra as a source of inspiration and speak of it in metaphorical terms. Soka Buddhists see the Lotus Sutra as evolving beyond its scriptural form as its underlying spirit was polished by Nagarjuna, Zhiyi (Tiantai), Saicho (Dengyo), and, ultimately, Nichiren's Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and Gohonzon. The Soka Gakkai's history is closely intertwined with the study of the Lotus Sutra. The imprisoned Josei Toda during World War II attained an awakening while trying to unlock a section of the prelude to the Lotus Sutra. In a second awakening that followed a few months later he saw himself as one of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth who vowed to propagate the Lotus Sutra in the evil Latter Day of the Law; furthermore he envisioned the Soka Gakkai as the organization of Bodhisattvas of the Earth. Once released from prison Toda began his reconstruction of the Soka Gakkai in post-war Japan with lectures on the Lotus Sutra. After the Soka Gakkai's excommunication by Nichiren Shoshu, Daisaku Ikeda conducted dialogue sessions on the Lotus Sutra which resulted in the publication of a six-volume work called The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra. The Soka Gakkai also sponsored the Burton Watson translation of the Lotus Sutra as well as several international exhibitions about the Lotus Sutra. Ikeda has referenced the Lotus Sutra in many of the annual peace proposals he submits to the United Nations. He compared the awakening of women mentored by Wangari Maathai to the essence of the Lotus Sutra, "a transformation from individuals seeking salvation to individuals taking action to help others free themselves from suffering." Among the many important teaching of the Lotus Sutra, the Soka Gakkai holds that the sutra's core message is the “vow of the Buddha” as expressed by Shakyamuni's statement, “At the start I took a vow, / hoping to make all persons / equal to me, without any distinction between us” (LS, 36). In other words, the Buddha's vow is to enable all people to attain the same state of enlightenment as he had achieved. This entaila widespread propagation of the Law. The Soka Gakkai emphasizes that the Lotus Sutra in its totality teaches the oneness, or shared commitment, of mentor and disciple. Soka Gakkai members consider those who awaken to this commitment to be the Bodhisattvas of the Earth who are entrusted in the “Supernatural Powers of the Thus Come One” (21st) Chapter of the Lotus Sutra with the propagation of the Law in the future. Living this vow permits the dynamic transformation of values evidenced by the stories of enlightenment in the sutra of people like Devadatta and the Dragon King's daughter. The Soka Gakkai holds that the essence of the practice of Buddhism can be found in the "Bodhisattva Never Disparaging" (20th) chapter of the Lotus Sutra wherein Bodhisattva Never Disparaging models the behavior of respecting the dignity of the lives of all people. Thus, Soka Gakkai members believe, the Lotus Sutra is a rallying cry to aide the struggling people of the world. Nichiren's conclusion is that Never Disparaging illustrates that the purpose of the Buddha's appearance "lies in his behavior as a human being". Soka Gakkai believes that the Lotus Sutra espouses, in modern terms, respect for the equality and dignity of life. The severity of today's global conditions is represented by the metaphor of the burning house in chapter 3 ("Simile and Parable"), the ideal of a culture of peace is described in chapter 5 (“The Parable of the Medicinal Herbs”), the incipient and hopefulness of life is represented by the emergence of the Treasure Tower and Bodhisattvas of the Earth in chapters 11-21.
    Tiantai (538–97) categorized and commented on Shakyamuni's teachings. Tiantai developed a theoretical system to describe the infinite interconnectedness of life translated as the "the principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena" or “three thousand realms in a single moment of life” (Jpn. ichinen sanzen). This theory demonstrates that the entire phenomenal world exists in a single moment of life. Soka Gakkai members believe that their prayers and actions can in a single moment pierce through chains of limitations.
    The Lotus Sutra contains hidden or secret principles or teachings that are not readily apparent. What distinguishes Nichiren is that he revealed these teachings as The Three Great Secret Laws and based his teachings on them. The most important component of the doctrine developed by Nichiren is the Three Great Secret Laws. The first is daimoku, the primary religious practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Drawing on ancient ideas about the efficacy of chanted words, Nichiren saw chanting as a practice that restated the essence of the Lotus Sutra appropriate to the current era. The Gohonzon, or object of devotion, is the second hidden law. It is most readily understood as a symbol of ultimate reality, a mandala or map of the spiritual forces of the universe. When used in practice, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and the Gohonzon mirror in each other the essence of Nichiren’s teaching. Daimoku is the verbal performance of Buddha nature, the Gohonzon its graphic representation. The third law is the sanctuary—the platform or altar—where one chants to the Gohonzon. Mr. Toda often said, “In the daily lives of us ordinary people, there is no place as sacred as the place where we practice gongyo and chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.” Nichiren writes, “The Lotus Sutra describes itself as representing the one great reason for which the Buddhas make their appearance in the world because it is a scripture that contains the Three Great Secret Laws.” In the first extant writing among Nichiren's letters, "On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime," Nichiren discusses the Vimalakīrti Sutra which states that the sufferings of birth and death are Nirvana and that "there are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds." Rather than seeking a holy or esoteric condition, Soka Gakkai members believe that the path of profound self-improvement can lead to enlightenment in this lifetime. Instead of a concept of spiritual purity, Soka Gakkai members uphold several of Nichiren's beliefs: "hell is the land of tranquil Light,", "attaining Buddhahood in one's present form," the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana," and "earthly desires are enlightenment." Buddhism primarily concerns itself with victory or defeat." Buddhahood, SGI members believe, can be understood as the tapping of boundless wisdom, courage, and compassion to win in daily struggles, and overcome limitations to lead a contributive life.
    While imprisoned, Josei Toda studied a passage from the Immeasurable meanings sutra (considered the introduction to the Lotus Sutra) that describes Buddhahood by means of 34 negations – for example, that it is "neither being nor non-being, this nor that, square nor round". From this, he concluded that "Buddha" is life, or life force. The "philosophy of life" restates principles formulated by Nichiren: "three thousand conditions in a single moment" (ichinen sanzen), and "observing one's own mind" (kanjin). The concept of life force is central to the Soka Gakkai's conception of the role of religion and the application of Nichiren's teachings. "Our health, courage, wisdom, joy, desire to improve, self-discipline, and so on, could all be said to depend on our life force," Ikeda says. Toda considered that the concept of "Buddha as life (force) means that Buddhism entails transforming society. According to religious historian Susumu Shimazono, Ikeda says "Faith is firm belief in the universe and the life force. Only a person of firm faith can lead a good and vigorous life. . . Buddhist doctrine is a philosophy that has human life as its ultimate object, and our Human Revolution movement is an act of reform aimed at opening up the inner universe, the creative life force within each individual, and leading to human freedom." Soka Gakkai teaches that this "self-induced change in each individual" – which Josei Toda began referring to as "human revolution"—is what leads to happiness and peace. While older schools taught the attainment of Buddhahood in this life through the Gohonzon, they did not tie this to social engagement. Toda's conception of life force and human revolution means that one attain Buddhahood "through engagement in the realities of daily life, through attaining benefits and happiness that involve all of life, and through extending this happiness to others." The Soka Gakkai liturgy refers to all of its first three presidents—Tsunesabura Makiguchi, Josei Toda and Daisaku Ikeda—as "the eterenal mentors of kosen-rufu". Chilson reports that "as Soka Gakkai's long-time leader, Ikeda is revered by Gakkai members." The relationship between members and their mentors is referred to as "the oneness of mentor and disciple." The mentor is to lead and thereby improve the lives of his disciples. The mentor's actions is seen as giving disciples confidence in their own unrealized potential. The role of disciples is seen as supporting their mentor and realizing his vision using their unique abilities and circumstances. The relationship is seen as non-hierarchical and mutually weighted. Disciples are encouraged to be active creators rather than passive followers. Seager writes: "The oneness of the mentor-disciple relationship is described not in terms of demands and duties as many critics imagine it to be, but in terms of choice, freedom and responsibility. It is the disciple's choice and decision to follow the mentor's vision for their common goal. In response, it is the mentor's wish to raise and foster the disciple to become greater than the mentor. A predominant theme in Ikeda's writings is his relationship with Toda, thereby modeling for his followers the oneness of mentor and disciple. Chilson states, "There is no part of his life that he talks about more, or with more enthusiasm, than the years he spent with Toda." Ikeda's published diary portrays him as an imperfect person who is completely dedicated to serving Toda as a disciple, creating an image of Ikeda for members who wish to become his disciple. Since the mid-1990s, the issue of the oneness of mentor and disciple has received more prominence in the Soka Gakkai. There is a strong emphasis on "cultivating all members... in discipleship" through forging "affective one-to-one relationships with Ikeda". A similar relationship is prominent in Vajrayana Buddhism and traditional Vedic culture. The role of the mentor is to open a path and protect disciples; the role of disciples is to actualize the mentor's teachings in society, grow into self-reliance, and surpass the mentor's accomplishments. Strand states that this relationship should be distinguished from uncritical veneration or charismatic religious leadership. A large part of the lore within the Soka Gakkai is that Ikeda modeled the oneness of mentor and disciple relationship through his efforts to actualize the visions of his mentor, Josei Toda. Soka Gakkai members perceive the relationship as mutually interdependent and not hierarchical. In late 1957, then Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda proclaimed 3 "Eternal Guidelines of Faith" in order to impress on the growing membership that the purpose of their faith was to effect change in their lives. In 2003, Ikeda added two more guidelines. The Five Guidelines of Faith are: 1 Faith for a harmonious family; 2 Faith for each person to become happy; 3 Faith for surmounting obstacles; 4 Faith for health and long life; and 5 Faith for absolute victory.
    Read more...
  • Aug 23, 2016
    Reminds of the SGI Charter.
    Preamble
    We, the constituent organizations and members of the Soka Gakkai International (hereinafter called "SGI"), embrace the fundamental aim and mission of contributing to peace, culture and education based on the philosophy and ideals of the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin.
    We recognize that at no time in history has humankind experienced such an intense juxtaposition of war and peace, discrimination and equality, poverty and abundance as in the twentieth century; that the development of increasingly sophisticated military technology, exemplified by nuclear weapons, has created a situation where the very survival of the human species hangs ...in the balance; that the reality of violent ethnic and religious discrimination presents an unending cycle of conflict; that humanity's egoism and intemperance have engendered global problems, including degradation of the natural environment and widening economic chasms between developed and developing nations, with serious repercussions for humankind's collective future.
    We believe that Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism, a humanistic philosophy of infinite respect for the sanctity of life and all-encompassing compassion, enables individuals to cultivate and bring forth their inherent wisdom and, nurturing the creativity of the human spirit, to surmount the difficulties and crises facing humankind and realize a society of peaceful and prosperous coexistence.
    We, the constituent organizations and members of SGI, therefore, being determined to raise high the banner of world citizenship, the spirit of tolerance, and respect for human rights based on the humanistic spirit of Buddhism, and to challenge the global issues that face humankind through dialogue and practical efforts based on a steadfast commitment to nonviolence, hereby adopt this charter, affirming the following purposes and principles:
    Purposes and Principles
    1 SGI shall contribute to peace, culture and education for the happiness and welfare of all humanity based on Buddhist respect for the sanctity of life.
    2 SGI, based on the ideal of world citizenship, shall safeguard fundamental human rights and not discriminate against any individual on any grounds.
    3 SGI shall respect and protect the freedom of religion and religious expression.
    4 SGI shall promote an understanding of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism through grass-roots exchange, thereby contributing to individual happiness.
    5 SGI shall, through its constituent organizations, encourage its members to contribute toward the prosperity of their respective societies as good citizens.
    6 SGI shall respect the independence and autonomy of its constituent organizations in accordance with the conditions prevailing in each country.
    7 SGI shall, based on the Buddhist spirit of tolerance, respect other religions, engage in dialogue and work together with them toward the resolution of fundamental issues concerning humanity.
    8 SGI shall respect cultural diversity and promote cultural exchange, thereby creating an international society of mutual understanding and harmony.
    9 SGI shall promote, based on the Buddhist ideal of symbiosis, the protection of nature and the environment.
    10 SGI shall contribute to the promotion of education, in pursuit of truth as well as the development of scholarship, to enable all people to cultivate their individual character and enjoy fulfilling and happy lives.
    The SGI Charter was adopted by its Board of Directors on 16 October, 1995
    The SGI’s activities for peace are based on the following key elements derived from the life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism:
    Dignity of Life
    All people inherently possess a life-state of ultimate dignity and in this sense are fundamentally equal and have limitless potential.
    Interconnectedness of Life
    An awareness of the interrelatedness and inseparability of one’s own life and those of others can help put an end to discriminatory attitudes and destructive behavior toward others and the environment.
    Reflection, Dialogue and Nonviolence
    Inner reflection enables us to feel the suffering of others as our own. Through dialogue, we strengthen mutual understanding and aim to join with others in a stand against violence and the taking of life.
    As a nongovernmental organization (NGO) working with the United Nations, the SGI advocates public education with a focus on peace and disarmament, human rights and sustainable development, provides humanitarian assistance and promotes interfaith dialogue and cooperation. Such initiatives are developed according to local needs and priorities, and each independent SGI organization undertakes activities and projects appropriate to its own culture and context.
    Peace & Disarmament
    The SGI’s nuclear abolition efforts trace their roots back to 1957 when second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda made a public declaration calling for the elimination and prohibition of nuclear weapons. Since then, the SGI has been working toward realizing a world free of nuclear weapons and the creation of a culture of peace through a number of initiatives and events, including the exhibition “Everything You Treasure—For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons.”
    Sustainable Development
    The SGI promotes sustainable living through various educational events and exhibitions, including “Seeds of Hope: Visions of Sustainability, Steps toward Change,” a joint initiative between the SGI and Earth Charter International in support of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
    Humanitarian Activities
    SGI members are actively engaged in various humanitarian relief activities both in the immediate aftermath of disasters and in long-term reconstruction efforts. Also, the SGI works with other NGOs to promote disaster risk reduction.
    Human Rights Education
    The quest to build a culture of human rights can be perceived as “a challenge of otherness” in which individuals develop the courage to acknowledge, respect and appreciate the differences among people. In support of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, the SGI organizes various activities such as forums and seminars to advance human rights education.
    Empowerment of Women
    Together with other like-minded groups, the SGI organizes various events to support efforts to promote gender equality by supporting the activities of UN Women and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
    Education for Global Citizenship
    As the world increasingly faces global challenges that call for global solutions, the SGI feels it is imperative that efforts are made to promote education for global citizenship that fosters a sense of belonging to and responsibility toward a global human community.The SGI’s activities for peace are based on the following key elements derived from the life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism:
    Dignity of Life
    All people inherently possess a life-state of ultimate dignity and in this sense are fundamentally equal and have limitless potential.
    Interconnectedness of Life
    An awareness of the interrelatedness and inseparability of one’s own life and those of others can help put an end to discriminatory attitudes and destructive behavior toward others and the environment.
    Reflection, Dialogue and Nonviolence
    Inner reflection enables us to feel the suffering of others as our own. Through dialogue, we strengthen mutual understanding and aim to join with others in a stand against violence and the taking of life.
    As a nongovernmental organization (NGO) working with the United Nations, the SGI advocates public education with a focus on peace and disarmament, human rights and sustainable development, provides humanitarian assistance and promotes interfaith dialogue and cooperation. Such initiatives are developed according to local needs and priorities, and each independent SGI organization undertakes activities and projects appropriate to its own culture and context.
    Peace & Disarmament
    The SGI’s nuclear abolition efforts trace their roots back to 1957 when second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda made a public declaration calling for the elimination and prohibition of nuclear weapons. Since then, the SGI has been working toward realizing a world free of nuclear weapons and the creation of a culture of peace through a number of initiatives and events, including the exhibition “Everything You Treasure—For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons.”
    Sustainable Development
    The SGI promotes sustainable living through various educational events and exhibitions, including “Seeds of Hope: Visions of Sustainability, Steps toward Change,” a joint initiative between the SGI and Earth Charter International in support of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
    Humanitarian Activities
    SGI members are actively engaged in various humanitarian relief activities both in the immediate aftermath of disasters and in long-term reconstruction efforts. Also, the SGI works with other NGOs to promote disaster risk reduction.
    Human Rights Education
    The quest to build a culture of human rights can be perceived as “a challenge of otherness” in which individuals develop the courage to acknowledge, respect and appreciate the differences among people. In support of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, the SGI organizes various activities such as forums and seminars to advance human rights education.
    Empowerment of Women
    Together with other like-minded groups, the SGI organizes various events to support efforts to promote gender equality by supporting the activities of UN Women and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
    Education for Global Citizenship
    As the world increasingly faces global challenges that call for global solutions, the SGI feels it is imperative that efforts are made to promote education for global citizenship that fosters a sense of belonging to and responsibility toward a global human community.
    Read more...
  • Carl Brehmer
    Aug 23, 2016
    What I am struck by is the assumption present in your post that Bahá'ís are not already fully engaged in this work via their promotion of Agenda 2844, God’s Agenda for this millennium, the Most Great Cause, the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh Whose end goal is the establishment of the long promised Kingdom of God on the Earth.
    Under the guidance of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá'ís around the world are sacrificing their lives, their goods, their comforts and rest to bring to fruition the vision outlined in the Tablets of the Divine Plan. As we speak Bahá'ís ...are fully committed to achieving the immediate goals of the current 5-year plan.
    With all due respect, the UN does not have the capacity to establish the Most Great Peace and Agenda 2030 will not establish God’s Kingdom on the Earth. To therefore divert the attention of Bahá'í away from their task at hand and attempt to enlist their mental and material support for what can only be described as an “old world order”, political ideology, i.e., “Sustainable Development”, strikes me as profoundly counterproductive regardless of what false hope that ideology might engender.
    Let us take to heart the words of the Universal House of Justice in this year’s Ridvan message, “How striking that, as the peoples of the world suffer for want of the true remedy and turn fitfully from one false hope to another, you are collectedly refining an instrument that connects hearts with the Word of God eternal.”
    There you have it; Agenda 2030 is yet one more “false hope” that people are "fitfully" turning to. Unfortunate that it has welled out of the materialistic minds of those who have yet to recognize the Manifestation of God for this day. The reason that Agenda 2030 will fail to deliver on even one of its utopian promises is because it cannot solve humanity's real problem, which, as identified by the Universal House of Justice, is an “ever-deepening malaise of the soul”--an affliction that can only be cured by “connecting hearts with the Word of God eternal”. I have read Agenda 2030. No where in its pages is there any mention of the human need to connect with the Word of God--especially the Revelation of God for this Day. All that it promises (even if it could deliver on those promises) is to address man's material needs--food, clothing, shelter, energy, health care, social equality, etc. Left dangling is the human spirit that is languishing for lack of the Divine Elixir, the Water of Live, the Word of God.
    Read more...
    • Aug 24, 2016
      Sums up like let the world burn because converting people to your religion is what matters. Helping to world out is a distraction from growing your religion apparently. Utopia requires everyone to convert to your religion which means anything other than that is a distraction and even detrimental to that goal according to your comment.
    • Aug 24, 2016
      Don't you mean Agenda 2863 as the Baha'i Faith was founded on 1863, not 1844. 1844 was the year of the founding of Babism/Bayanism, not the Baha'i Faith which was founded 19 years later on 1863.
  • Aug 22, 2016
    2030 is also the hundredth anniversary of the foundation of Soka Gakkai. It has goals of Human Revolution and Nirvana on Earth. Faith, Justice, wisdom, and worship are four key virtues mentioned by Zhiyi as the Patriachs of Nichiren Buddhism are Buddha, Nagarjuna, Zhiyi (Tiantai), Saicho (Dengyo Daishi), and Nichiren (Nichiren Daishonin).
    • Christine Muller
      Aug 22, 2016
      Dear Stephen,
      Thank you for your comment. It shows how the essence of all religions are the same, be it in Buddhism, the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Judaism, or Islam etc.
      Faith, Justice, wisdom, and worship are central for the development of a sustainable society as well as for each individual's spiritual development.
  • Aug 22, 2016
    Yes we will be part and parcel to establish The Kingdom of God on earth! tq Allah'u'Abha
    • Christine Muller
      Aug 22, 2016
      Dear Vasudevan, Yes, it is very exciting to be part of building a spiritual civilization. It's not an easy work and there are and, I think, will be even more serious challenges to overcome, but the fact that all of us are working together in different ways and in all corners of the world is one additional factor that provides courage, strength, and joy.
  • Hooshang S. Afshar
    Aug 22, 2016
    Christine, Your positive outlook is wonderful. I wish we had a course of peels or such that contained all the above that every human-being could take and be transformed. Only extreme hardship has the force to bring change of behaviour in mankind.
    • Christine Muller
      Aug 22, 2016
      Dear Hooshang,
      I fully agree with you. The huge transformation needed to establish a sustainable and just civilization will only occur after serious crises. We have reached a point where we cannot prevent human suffering anymore. However, our actions today will determine the extent of human suffering in the future. Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, wrote about humankind: Its present state, indeed even its immediate future, is dark, distressingly dark. Its distant future, however, is radiant, gloriously radiant—so radiant that no eye can visualize it.” Hope we can continue our conversation in the Wilmette Institute course:
      http://www.cvent.com/events/sustainable-development-and-the-prosperity-of-humankind/event-summary-bf18d2ded1854e4d8324455c43f47a9e.aspx