The Bahá’í community has a program for the effective transformation of the individuals and the creation of a new world civilization. This program can be clearly distinguished from ideas, suggestions, proposals, principles, and sentiments held by a large and disparate group of people, all of whom would want to contribute to the betterment of the world. To better appreciate the features of this program we observe that since 1996 the Bahá’í community is engaged in creating, step by step, the elements of this program. To effectively carry out any program, it requires a number of people who are able and willing to implement its provisions. To systematically train a large number and develop in them the knowledge, the spiritual insight, and the skills to carry out the various activities, some 250 training institutes were created throughout the world in 1996. These institutes are organizational structures dedicated to providing formal educational programs that systematically raise the capacity of its participants.
We have studied three spiritual prerequisites, namely rectitude of conduct, a chaste and holy life, and elimination of all forms of prejudice. These spiritual qualities may have been the object of numerous sermons throughout the ages and in various settings. So what is the source of our optimism? The answer lies in the fact that our approach is fundamentally different from expressions of pious hope. It involves a practical and systematic method that raises capacity for action, then accompanies the participants to engage in action. And at each stage these spiritual qualities are studied, then practiced, and their implications and applications in realistic circumstances explored. Rectitude of conduct is woven in the study of the Books, woven in the practices, and woven in reflections on action. It becomes impossible for a person to ignore it as we move from cycle to cycle.
And there are two complimentary principles before us: be absolutely strict on the principles, and completely understanding of the efforts of the individuals. We “recognize the importance of two fundamental, interlocking precepts: On the one hand, the high standard of conduct inculcated by Baha'u'llah's Revelation can admit no compromise; it can, in no wise, be lowered, and all must fix their gaze on its lofty heights. On the other, it must be acknowledged that, as human beings, we are far from perfect; what is expected of everyone is sincere daily effort. Self-righteousness is to be eschewed.”
In the study of this 35th paragraph of the letter of 28 December 2010 of the Universal House of Justice, the following questions come to mind:
- How does the educational process associated with the training institute help to foster the spiritual conditions that must distinguish the life of the Bahá’í community?
- How does the training institute promote the spirit of unity that must animate the friends?
- How does the training institute engender the ties of love that must bind the collaborators?
- How does the training institute secure firmness in the Covenant that must sustain the participants?
- How does the training institute increase reliance and trust the learners must place on the power of divine assistance?
Abdu’l-Baha wrote: “…You should strive day and night so that endowed with heavenly strength, inspired with brilliant motives and aided by His celestial power and heavenly grace and confirmation, you may become the ornaments of the world of humanity, and preeminent among those who are initiated into true learning and the love of God. You must be distinguished amidst men by your sanctity and detachment, loftiness of purpose, magnanimity, determination, noble mindedness, tenacity, the elevation of your aims and your spiritual qualities”. [Bahá’í Prayers and Tablets for the Young, p. 30]