Mark Stone - percussionist, composer, educator

///Baha'i

I am proud to be an American Baha'i.

The core tenet of my Baha’i Faith is a belief in the absolute unity and oneness 
of all  humanity and the unity and oneness of all religion. Bahá'u'lláh, the
prophet founder  of the Baha’i Faith writes, “Ye are the fruits of one tree, and
the leaves of one  branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and
harmony, with  friendliness and fellowship. He who is the Day Star of Truth
beareth Me witness! So  powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the
whole earth.”


So as Baha’i we disavow any notion that one culture or one group of people is
in some way superior to any other group, but rather believe in the fundamental
equality of all mankind and dedicate ourselves to the service of our entire
human family. Bahá'u'lláh writes, “The peoples of the world, of whatever race
or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly Source, and are the
subjects of one God.”

Baha’i believe that all of the world’s religions are one and that throughout the
course of human history God has sent a series of Divine Messengers to educate
us. These Messengers are Manifestations of God, who over time, and when
most needed, have been sent to every part of the world to teach us. Each
Messenger of God is a perfect mirror, reflecting our Creator’s divine knowledge
and infinite love.

 


These Divine Educators are the founders of our world’s many diverse spiritual
traditions. Their social teachings may differ according to the time and place of
their appearance among us, as their teachings were designed to meet the
needs of specific periods and places in human history. However, the spiritual
guidance of God’s Messengers, each teaching love and unity among all God’s
children, remain firmly constant.


As Baha’i we follow the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, God’s most recent
Manifestation and Messenger for this age. Bahá'u'lláh, whose name translates
in English as “the Glory of God,” was born in Persia and lived from 1817 to
1892. His station is unique in that he directly wrote down all of his divine
guidance, as opposed to having one of his followers write down his teachings.
And Bahá'u'lláh was a prolific writer! Over a forty-year period, his pen revealed
thousands of letters, tablets, and books that, when compiled; make up more
than 100 volumes of God’s revelation. So as Baha’i there is a seemingly
endless ocean of material for us to read and study.


Given the focus in these volumes on the oneness of humanity, the Baha’i
writings also emphasize equality of men and women, stating, “the world of 
humanity has two wings—one is women and the other men. Not until both 
wings are equally developed can the bird fly.” 
The writings also emphasize
harmony of faith, reason, and science, stating, “The first (principle of the
Baha’i Faith) is the independent investigation of truth; for blind imitation of 
the past will stunt the mind. But once every soul inquireth into truth, society
will be freed from the darkness of continually repeating the past.”

Furthermore, the Baha’i writings teach us to live our faith within our daily lives
and in our chosen professions, stating, “The acquisition of sciences and the
perfection of arts are considered acts of worship. If a man engageth with all
his power in the acquisition of a science or in the perfection of an art, it is as
if he has been worshipping God in churches and temples.” And finally, on a
more personal note, as a musician the Baha’i view of music resonates deeply.
The writings state, “The art of music is divine and effective. It is the food of
the soul and spirit. Through the power and charm of music the spirit of man
is uplifted.”