- 1 History
- 2 Three cycles of main courses
- 3 Main sequence of courses: first cycle
- 4 Main sequence of courses: second cycle
- 5 Branch Courses
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
The general idea of an institute in Bahá'í terms originates with the beginning of the Nine Year Plan (starting in 1964) designated by the Universal House of Justice, the international governing institution of the Bahá'í Faith. The institute or training institute was especially for countries where large-scale expansion was taking place to meet the needs of the thousands who were entering the Faith. At that time, the emphasis was on acquiring a physical facility to which group after group of newly enrolled believers would be invited to attend deepening courses. Over the years, in conjunction with these institutes as well as independent of them, a number of courses— referred to, for example, as weekend institutes, five-day institutes, and nine-day institutes— were developed for the purpose of promulgating the fundamental verities of the religion and how to serve it. The Ruhi Institute developed in Colombia after the 1970s from this general form and eventually was organized under the guidance of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'í Faith in Colombia. Since 1992 it has been registered as the “Ruhí Foundation,” a legally independent non-profit organisation The Ruhí Foundation dedicates its efforts to the development of human resources for the spiritual, social, and cultural development of the Colombian people. Although its center is in the town of Puerto Tejada in the department of Cauca, its area of influence extends throughout the entire country. Especially in recent years, its educational programs have been adopted by an increasing number of agencies worldwide.
Like any other institution involved in the process of education for development, the Ruhi Institute has formulated its strategies within a special framework and a philosophy of social change, development and education. In this case, that understanding has emerged from a consistent effort to apply Bahá'í teachings to the analysis of social conditions.
Three cycles of main courses
The Ruhí Institute's sequence of courses “has been conceived in terms of three cycles, each one concerned with the spiritual and moral empowerment of the believers from a particular perspective”
First cycle: books 1 to 7
"[C]entered on the practice of the freedom the individual has to undertake acts of service within the framework of the teachings of the Faith and the guidance provided by its institutions"
Second cycle books 8 and further
Dedicated to the individual and the community.
Third cycle (planned)
The individual and society. No books available yet.
Main sequence of courses: first cycle
The Ruhi Institute's main sequence of courses aims, in its entirety, at achieving three overall objectives: providing insights into spiritual matters, promoting moral awareness, and helping to develop specific acts of service.
Each study circle using the Ruhi Institute's materials involves at least one tutor, with generally 3-10 participants. Except as mentioned below, the format is not rigid, so each gathering may be different from the next, or different between countries and cities.
The materials prepared by the Ruhi Institute focus on the Bahá'í writings by assisting participants to understand the texts on three different levels. The first level is that of basic comprehension—understanding the meanings of the words and sentences. Towards this end, participants formulate questions whose answers are direct quotes from the texts, in order to gain a literal understanding of the meanings and context of various quotes. The second level relates to the application of the texts to various real-world situations. For example, this would entail examining simple daily acts (lying about one's taxes, cheating on an exam) in light of the Bahá'í emphasis on truthfulness. Finally, the third level deals with the implications of the various quotations on other aspects of Bahá'í belief.
There are currently eight books in the Institute's main sequence of courses, with more courses in development. Each book is broken up into three units each with many sections. Tutors are encouraged to apply the arts, using music, games, crafts, and such during the training. Each book has one or more practices that can be done outside of the training. For example, the third book helps people to become teachers of children's classes, and the practice is to give an actual class. Also encouraged throughout the books is the practice of memorizing passages and prayers.
It is suggested to take the books in their numbered order.
Book 1: Reflections on the Life of the Spirit
This first and shortest book of the sequence is divided into three units with different themes:
- Understanding the Bahá'í Writings
- Life and Death
This book can be used as an introduction to people investigating the Faith, or as a study of fundamental principles by people already familiar with the teachings.
One practice for this book is to visit two people, and study a prayer with them.
Book 2: Arising to Serve
The second book in the sequence involves community life and teaching. Units include:
- The Joy of Teaching
- Deepening Themes
- Introducing Bahá'í Beliefs
This book aims at developing specific acts of service. Providing tools to raise up human resources capable of fostering the growth of the Bahá'í Community with efficiency and love.
One practice for this book is to visit a few people and practice one of the deepening themes learned in the second unit.
Book 3: Teaching Children's Classes, Grade 1
The third book in the sequence is designed to develop the capabilities needed to conduct children's classes. The units include:
- Some Principles of Bahá'í Education
- Lessons for Children's Classes, Grade 1
- Conducting Classes for Children
This book reviews the importance of education, and gives tools for teachers. The classes include games, songs, and various arts and crafts. The practice for this book is to offer a children's class.
Book 4: The Twin Manifestations
- The Greatness of this Day
- The Life of the Báb
- The Life of Bahá'u'lláh
This book reviews the importance of the Bahá'í revelation, and retells many of the famous stories of the two founding prophets of the Bahá'í Faith.
One practice is to visit a friend, and share a story from the book.
Book 5: Releasing the Powers of Junior Youth
The fifth book in the sequence trains individuals to facilitate Junior Youth groups, which are for ages 11–14. Individuals who complete the book and go on to facilitate a Junior Youth group are called animators, thus named because they animate the endeavors of the junior youth. After completing book five, animators use a separate strand of books to work with the junior youth.
Book 6: Teaching the Cause
The sixth book in the sequence is a continuation of the theme of the second book, which is teaching.
- The Spiritual Nature of Teaching
- The Qualities and Attitudes of the Teacher
- The Act of Teaching
This book is intended to enhance the participants' understanding of the spiritual significance of teaching, and the attributes that a teacher of the Cause should strive to acquire.
One practice is to participate in a teaching campaign.
Book 7: Walking Together on a Path of Service
The seventh book of the sequence is designed to give its participants the ability to tutor their own study circles for the first six books.
- The Spiritual Path
- Becoming a Tutor of Books 1-6
- Promoting the Arts at the Grassroots
This book teaches of the spiritual dynamics of service. It gives tools and practice to those people interested in becoming tutors.
The practice of this book is to tutor a study circle.
Main sequence of courses: second cycle
Book 8: The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh
The eighth book of the sequence is still in development.
- The Center of the Covenant and His Will and Testament
- The Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith
- The Administrative Order
Book 9: Family Prosperity (planned)
This book is planned but not yet available in any form for study. Is planned to include:
Branching out from some of the main sequences of courses are some branch courses. Currently only books 3 and 5 have branch courses.
Book 3 Branch Courses (for children's class teachers)
Teaching Children's Classes, Grade 2 Teaching Children's Classes, Grade 3
Book 5 Branch Courses (for Junior Youth)
Series 1: Continuation of Bahá'í Education (6 titles planned)
- Spirit of Faith (age 12)
- Focus: the purpose of existence.
- The Power of the Holy Spirit
Series 2: Language (6 titles planned)
- Breezes of Confirmation (ages 11-12)
- Focus: developing the capacities of youth.
- Walking the Straight Path (ages 13-14)
- Focus: skills needed to express oneself, and translating high ideals into pure deeds.
- Drawing on the Power of the Word (age 14)
- Focus: the power of expression and its moral implications.
Series 3: Science and mathematics (6 titles planned)
- Thinking About Numbers
- Observation and Insight
- The Human Temple
- Focus: rational thinking.
Series 4: Living in society (6 titles planned)
- Glimmerings of Hope (ages 11-12)
- Focus: help youth to make difficult choices.
- Learning about Excellence (age 14)
- Focus: adapting to rapid social change.
Many of these books do not make direct references to Bahá'í texts, and thus serve as a "Baha'i Inspired" source of moral education and character development for young people.
- Ruhi Institute. Statement of purpose and methods.
- Universal House of Justice; Department of the Secretariat (December 1998). "Extracts From Messages Written By The Universal House Of Justice On The Four Year Plan Related To Training Institutes". The Bahá'í Community of Guelph. p. 1.
- Molineaux, P. (1996). Projects of FUNDAEC. Cali, Colombia.
- Ruhi Institute (1991). Learning about Growth - The Story of the Ruhi Institute and Large-scale Expansion of the Bahá'í Faith in Colombia. Cali, Colombia: Palabra Publications. p. 55.
- Ruhi Institute (2003). Book 7: Walking Together on a Path of Service. Ruhi Institute (reprint ed.). West Palm Beach, Florida: Palabra Publications. ISBN 1-890101-07-9.
- Mortensen, Stephan Z. (2008). The Ruhi Institute Curriculum: A Qualitative Study. Capella University, School of Education, Publisher ProQuest. Publication number 3311298.
- Universal House of Justice. Letter from the to all National Spiritual Assemblies (12 December 2011).
- Ruhi Institute. Junior youth spiritual empowerment program
- See for example of course development: Canadian Bahá'í International Development Agency (CBIDA): Preparation for Social Action (PSA) Training Programme for Youth in Africa. (archived)
- Hanley, Paul (2014). "Chapter 16: A Transformational Model". Eleven. Victoria, BC, Canada: FriesenPress. ISBN 1460250478.