What is the purpose of the Training Institute?
“Ultimately, then, the purpose of the training institute is to build the capacity of individuals to meet the many needs of growing, vibrant communities.”
— The Universal House of Justice, Turning Point
The focus of the Training Institute is on promoting the betterment of the world. It seeks to raise those who, while striving for individual spiritual and intellectual excellence, work to help their communities progress both materially and spiritually. The educational materials it offers draw on the transformative teachings of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation and the growing experience of the Bahá’í community in working to advance civilization. The Institute is not just for Bahá’is and their friends, but for anyone who has a desire to help their community and is motivated to work toward the vision of the oneness of mankind.
“Bahá’ís see the young as the most precious treasure a community can possess. In them are the promise and guarantee of the future. Yet, in order for this promise to be realised, children need to receive spiritual nourishment. In a world where the joy and innocence of childhood can be so easily overwhelmed by the aggressive pursuit of materialistic ends, the moral and spiritual education of children assumes vital importance.”
“Especially during the early years of childhood, great emphasis is placed on the development of spiritual qualities and on those beliefs, habits and patterns of conduct that constitute the essential attributes of a spiritual being.”
The children’s classes seek to create a nurturing environment for children, with lessons to learn about spiritual qualities and the attributes of an upright character. The teachers seek to cultivate virtuous habits and attitudes within the children, and kindle their relationship with and love for God.
Junior Youth Groups:
“Falling between the ages of 12 and 15 and representing a transition from childhood to youth, young adolescents—referred to as ‘junior youth’—experience rapid physical, intellectual, and emotional changes. Their spiritual powers expand. A new level of awareness fosters in them an increased interest in profound questions and in their talents and abilities. During this short and critical three-year period, ideas about the individual and society that may very well shape the rest of their lives are formed. However, delight at these new powers is often combined with feelings of worry, discomfort, and doubt that may produce contradictions in behaviour. Directing their new abilities towards selfless service to humanity is therefore needed at this age.”
Junior Youth Groups are small groups of young people in local communities that offer an environment for them to discuss ideas and form a strong moral identity. They are assisted by an older friend, called an animator. The animator acts as a mentor and treats them as peers rather than children, helping to nurture their growing maturity. The materials of the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program aim to develop their spiritual perception, powers of expression, and moral foundation. In the groups, the junior youth practice arts and crafts, play sports and recreation, and carry out service projects.
Youth Ages 15-20,
“… the Institute’s main sequence of courses is not arranged according to a series of subject matters, with the specific aim of increasing individual knowledge. The content and order are based, rather, on a series of acts of service, the practice of which creates capacity in the individual to meet the exigencies of dynamic, developing communities. And as also noted above, the enhancement of such capacity is viewed in terms of ‘walking a path of service’.”
With the assistance of a tutor, the courses of the Institute are studied in local groups called “study circles.” The courses aim at raising understanding of spiritual matters and building the capacity to offer various acts of service to the local community. Among the acts of service are hosting gatherings for prayers, teaching children’s classes, serving as an animator of junior youth groups, or tutoring Ruhi courses. By focusing on developing capacity for service, the individuals studying the courses tend their own growth as well as their community’s growth.
If you are interested in studying Ruhi courses, click here. For more information about the courses, click here. The books for studying Ruhi courses can be ordered here. If you want to request materials that are still in pre-publication, click here.
“If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will advance, become illumined and spiritual…”