Addressing the Japanese Friends

September 29, 2021
Addressing the Japanese Friends


Addressing the Japanese Friends

Source: Talk by `Abdu’l-Baha to the Japanese Independent Church, Oakland, California
October 1912

During `Abdu’l-Baha’s teaching tour of America in 1912, the U.S. population was conflicted about the increasing numbers of Japanese immigrants. Between 1886 and 1911, more than 400,000 men and women left Japan for the U.S. and U.S.-controlled lands looking for new opportunities. As the Japanese population increased, it was met by Americans with rising anti-Japanese prejudice. By the spring of 1907, anti-immigrant riots had broken out in San Francisco, conducted by mobs of workmen fearing competition from low-cost Japanese laborers.

Mr. Yamamoto, the first Japanese Baha’i, arranged for `Abdu’l-Baha to speak at the Japanese Independent Church, in Oakland, California. It was the only talk given by `Abdu’l-Baha to a Japanese audience. It was translated from Persian into English and then into Japanese.

‘Abdu’l-Baha addressed the audience: 

It is a great happiness to be here this evening, especially for the reason that the members of this Association have come from the region of the Orient. For a long time I have entertained a desire to meet some of the Japanese friends. That nation has achieved extraordinary progress in a short space of time; a progress and development which have astonished the world. Inasmuch as they have advanced in material civilization they must assuredly possess the capacity for spiritual development. For this reason I have an excessive longing to meet them. …

Religion must be the cause of love. Religion must be the cause of justice, for the wisdom of the Manifestations of God is directed toward the establishing of the bond of a love which is indissoluble. The bonds which hold together the body-politic are not sufficient. …The real bond of integrity is religious in character, for religion indicates the oneness of the world of humanity. Religion serves the world of morality. Religion purifies the hearts. Religion impels men to achieve praiseworthy deeds. Religion becomes the cause of love in human hearts, for religion is a divine foundation, the foundation ever conducive to life. The teachings of God are the source of illumination to the people of the world. Religion is ever constructive not destructive.

…The world was in this condition of darkness when His Holiness Baha’u’llah appeared upon the Persian horizon. He hoisted the banner of the oneness of the world of humanity. He proclaimed international peace. He admonished the Persian nation to investigate reality, announced that religion must be the cause of unity and love, that it must be the means of binding hearts together, the cause of life and illumination. If religion becomes the cause of enmity and bloodshed, then irreligion is to be preferred, for religion is the remedy for every ailment, and if a remedy should become the cause of ailment and difficulty, it is better to abandon it. …

And ye, who are the people of the Orient — the Orient which has ever been the dawning-point of lights — from whence the Sun of Reality has ever shone forth casting its effulgence upon the West — ye therefore must become the manifestations of lights. Ye must become brilliant lamps. Ye must shine as stars radiating the light of love toward all mankind. May you be the cause of love amongst the nations. Thus may the world become witness that the Orient has ever been the dawning-point of illumination, the source of love and reconciliation. Make peace with all the world. Love everybody; serve everybody. All are the servants of God. God has created all. He provideth for all. He is kind to all. Therefore must we be kind to all.

I am greatly pleased with this meeting. I am joyous and happy, for here in these western regions I find Orientals seeking education, and who are free from prejudice. May God assist you!

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