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7: Unit 2: Becoming a Tutor

Walking Together on a Path of Service: Book 7

Unit 2:  Becoming a Tutor of Books 1 – 6

Section 1

The purpose of this unit is to “explore some of the concepts and acquire some of the attitudes and skills, and abilities, that contribute to the capability of helping a group of friends go through Books 1-6. The practice encouraged as part of this book is to “form a study circle (which is about both spiritual and intellectual education leading to spiritual and moral empowerment) and accompany it through at least one book.”

The broader purpose is to assist the participant to contribute to the development of human resources in his/her community. Initial training, participation in study circles and in periodic meetings of consultation organized by the Institute, are three steps to becoming a tutor. During the reflection gatherings, experiences are analysed and skills and attributes enhanced.

Section 2

Motivation: Factors that motivate people can be transitory (that excite people momentarily to spur them to action for a short period of time) or permanent (generates motivation with roots deep in a person’s heart.) Learning is fun but education is not the same as entertainment.

Why enhance your capacity to act as a tutor?

“to bring the knowledge of the Love of God to every heart”

Section 3

Enthusiasm (the natural expression of inner joy) motivates others. Excitement (a momentary and superficial emotion that results from passing circumstances). In this section we re-visit Book 2.

Joy: Book 2: Unit 1: Book 2 is about the “joy of teaching which is in the very act of sharing with others the Word of God, independent of immediate results.”

Book 2: Part 2: (Deepening Themes) Home visits are an act of service. Some deepening topics include the Eternal Covenant of God, a history of the Life of Baha’u’llah, love and unity in the Baha’i community, Baha’i meetings (Nineteen Day Feast), the Fund, . Other potential topics include prayer, the life of the soul, the true meaning of sacrifice).

Book 2: Part 2: (Deepening Themes): Section 7

Sharing spiritual experience is a source of great joy.

In Book 2: Part 2: (Deepening Themes): Section 7

“O thou my beloved friend! O thou my beloved friend!For a long time thou didst have the longing to visit the Blessed Spot and the yearning to meet this imprisoned one. Finally this gift became realized, but it was for one moment and as the dew to the rose-garden of the hearts. The destiny was such and the means were brought about in this way. I became sad and disappointed more than thyself. But I hope that this meeting became as the wick of the lamp and the fire—that as soon as it was touched it became ignited. I am expecting the results of this meeting, that I may see thee lighted as a candle and burning thyself as a moth with the fire of the love of God, weeping like unto the cloud by the greatness of love and attraction, laughing like unto the meadow and stirred into cheerfulness like unto the young tree by the wafting of the breeze of the Paradise of Abha!
All the believers in the East and in this Spot are expecting the receipt of letters from thee (‘Abdu’l-Bahá 1909). From Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Bahá’í Publishing Committee, 1909 edition Pages: 730.”

“The third Tajallí is concerning arts, crafts and sciences. Knowledge is as wings to man’s life, and a ladder for his ascent. Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone. The knowledge of such sciences, however, should be acquired as can profit the peoples of the earth, and not those which begin with words and end with words. Great indeed is the claim of scientists and craftsmen on the peoples of the world. Unto this beareth witness the Mother Book on the day of His return. Happy are those possessed of a hearing ear. In truth, knowledge is a veritable treasure for man, and a source of glory, of bounty, of joy, of exaltation, of cheer and gladness unto him. Thus hath the Tongue of Grandeur spoken in this Most Great Prison (Bahá’u’lláh 47-54).” Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1988 pocket-size edition.

List of direct quotations from the Sacred Writings

Sections 1, 2 and 3 – no quotations

Section 4

“O Company of God! To each created thing, the Ancient Sovereignty hath portioned out its own perfection, its particular virtue and special excellence, so that each in its degree may become a symbol denoting the sublimity of the true Educator of humankind, and that each, even as a crystalline mirror, may tell of the grace and splendour of the Sun of Truth.

““And from amongst all creatures He hath singled out man, to grant him His most wondrous gift, and hath made him to attain the bounties of the Company on High.  That most precious of gifts is attainment unto His unfailing guidance, that the inner reality of humankind should become as a niche to hold this lamp; and when the scattering splendours of this light do beat against the bright glass of the heart, the heart’s purity maketh the beams to blaze out even stronger than before, and to shine in glory on the minds and souls of men.

“The attainment of the most great guidance is dependent upon knowledge and wisdom, and on being informed as to the mysteries of the Holy Words.  Wherefore must the loved ones of God, be they young or old, be they men or women, each one according to his capabilities, strive to acquire the various branches of knowledge, and to increase his understanding of the mysteries of the Holy Books, and his skill in marshalling the divine proofs and evidences.

“The eminent Sadru’s-Sudur, who hath verily attained a most exalted station in the Retreats of Bliss, inaugurated the teaching meeting.  He was the first blessed soul to lay the foundation of this momentous institution.  God be praised, during the course of his life he educated persons who today are strong and eloquent advocates of the Lord God, disciples who are indeed pure and spiritual descendants of him who was so close to the Holy Threshold.  After his passing, certain blessed individuals took steps to perpetuate his teaching work, and when He learned of it, this Captive’s heart rejoiced.” (‘Abdu’l-Baha, cited in Baha’i Education, comp. The Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, published in The Compilation of Compilations [Ingleside:  Baha’I Publications Australia, 1991] vol. 1, p. 252)

“O God, O Thou Who hast cast Thy splendour over the luminous realities of men, shedding upon them the resplendent lights of knowledge and guidance, and hast chosen them out of all created things for this supernal grace, and hast caused them to encompass all things, to understand their inmost essence, and to disclose their mysteries, bringing them forth out of darkness into the visible world!  ‘He verily showeth His special mercy to whomsoever He will.’”

“O Lord, help Thou Thy loved ones to acquire knowledge and the sciences and arts, and to unravel the secrets that are treasured up in the inmost reality of all created beings.  Make them to hear the hidden truths that are written and embedded in the heart of all that is.  Make them to be ensigns of guidance amongst all creatures, and piercing rays of the mind shedding forth their light in this, the “first life”.  Make them to be leaders unto Thee, guides unto Thy path, runners urging men on to Thy Kingdom.”

“Thou verily art the Powerful, the Protector, the Potent, the Defender, the Mighty, the Most Generous.”(‘Abdu’l-Baha, cited in Baha’i Education, comp. The Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, published in The Compilation of Compilations [Ingleside:  Baha’i Publications Australia, 1991] vol. 1, pp 251-252)

Section 5 – no quotations

Section 6

““Tear asunder, in My Name, the veils that have grievously blinded your vision, and, through the power born of your belief in the unity of God, scatter the idols of vain imitation. Enter, then, the holy paradise of the good-pleasure of the All-Merciful.  Sanctify your souls from whatsoever is not of God, and taste ye the sweetness of rest within the pale of His vast and mighty Revelation, and beneath the shadow of His supreme and infallible authority. Suffer not yourselves to be wrapt in the dense veils of your selfish desires, inasmuch as I have perfected in every one of you My creation, so that the excellence of My handiwork may be fully revealed unto men.  It follows, therefore, that every man hath been, and will continue to be, able of himself to appreciate the Beauty of God, the Glorified.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, LXXV p. 143)

“Hear Me, ye mortal birds! In the Rose Garden of changeless splendor a Flower hath begun to bloom, compared to which every other flower is but a thorn, and before the brightness of Whose glory the very essence of beauty must pale and wither.  Arise, therefore, and, with the whole enthusiasm of your hearts, with all the eagerness of your souls, the full fervor of your will, and the concentrated efforts of your entire being, strive to attain the paradise of His presence, and endeavor to inhale the fragrance of the incorruptible Flower, to breathe the sweet savors of holiness, and to obtain a portion of this perfume of celestial glory.  Whoso followeth this counsel will break his chains asunder, will taste the abandonment of enraptured love, will attain unto his heart’s desire, and will surrender his soul into the hands of his Beloved.  Bursting through his cage, he will, even as the bird of the spirit, wing his flight to his holy and everlasting nest.

“The everlasting Candle shineth in its naked glory.  Behold how it hath consumed every mortal veil.  O ye moth-like lovers of His light!  Brave every danger, and consecrate your souls to its consuming flame.  O ye that thirst after Him!  Strip yourselves of every earthly affection, and hasten to embrace your Beloved.  With a zest that none can equal make haste to attain unto Him.  The Flower, thus far hidden from the sight of men, is unveiled to your eyes.  In the open radiance of His glory He standeth before you.  His voice summoneth all the holy and sanctified beings to come and be united with Him.  Happy is he that turneth thereunto; well is it with him that hath attained, and gazed on the light of so wondrous a countenance.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, CLI pp. 320-322)

Section 7

“Apart from these provisions Bahá’u’lláh exhorts His followers to consort, with amity and concord and without discrimination, with the adherents of all religions; warns them to guard against fanaticism, sedition, pride, dispute and contention; inculcates upon them immaculate cleanliness, strict truthfulness, spotless chastity, trustworthiness; hospitality, fidelity, courtesy, forbearance, justice and fairness; counsels them to be “even as the fingers of one hand and the limbs of one body”; calls upon them to arise and serve His Cause; and assures them of His undoubted aid. (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, pp. 214-215)

Sections 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 – no quotations

Section 14

  • “Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess, for in them are the promise and guarantee of the future.  They bear the seeds of the character of future society which is largely shaped by what the adults constituting the community do or fail to do with respect to children.  They are a trust no community can neglect with impunity.  An all-embracing love of children, the manner of treating them, the quality of the attention shown them, the spirit of adult behaviour toward them — these are all among the vital aspects of the requisite attitude.  Love demands discipline, the courage to accustom children to hardship, not to indulge their whims or leave them entirely to their own devices.  An atmosphere needs to be maintained in which children feel that they belong to the community and share in its purpose.  They must lovingly but insistently be guided to live up to Bahá’í standards, to study and teach the Cause in ways that are suited to their circumstances.”(The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 157, 2000)

Sections 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 – no quotations

Section 20

How study circles operate in practice

1. Practice introduction of Book One: purpose, content, method. Explain that purpose of exercises are to help focus on immediate and explicit meaning of quotations before thinking about application and implication.

Review of Book 1: Unit 1: Understanding the Baha’i Writings: Section 1:p.9.  Work as a group.

2. Review of Book 1: Unit 1: Understanding the Baha’i Writings: Section 2:p.10.  Work in pairs. Questions arising?

3. Review of Book 1: Unit 3: Life and Death: Section 2:p.36. Note nature of discipline that governs the activity of answering questions individually in writing that arise from quote on special relationship between soul and body.

4. Review of Book 1: Unit 3: Life and Death: Section 2:p.36. Which questions will be opened up for group discussion?

5. Memorization issues

6. Study circle undertakes an act of service.

7. Consulting Local Spiritual Assembly about acts of service for study circle

8. Working with Youth Groups: encourage one participant to read a Sacred Text then put it in her own words.

9. Working with youth to help them organize and present deepenings on specific topics.

10. How can youth help junior youth prepare and present talks?

11. Review of Book 2. Work with youth to establish the devotional and social parts of the Feast. Help them understand role of LSA to Feast.

12. Review of Book 2. Unit 2 and Unit 3. “Introducing Baha’i beliefs.” Encourage others to enter into conversations on social and spiritual subjects at school.

13. Review of Book 3 Teaching Children’s Classes, Grade 1: Unit 2. 15 lessons for the classes. Reflection on experience teaching children’s classes.

14. Review of Book 5: Teaching Children’s Classes Part 2. Encourage participants to read sections on Baha’i history and retell it at a level and manner that will engage children.

15. Review of Book 4: Possible program for an evening presentation where children present the life of the Bab to a small group of friends.

16. Review of Book 6: How to work with youth to organize a summer teaching campaign with the Area Teaching Committee.

17. Review of Book 7: Unit 3. Promoting the Arts at a Grassroots level. Study circles participates in mini-course bi-weekly for one month to learn from a local artist, craftswoman as part of the study circle.

18. Review of Book 7: Unit 3. Promoting the Arts at a Grassroots level. Consider ways of encouraging a musician who is no longer using her God-given talent.

19. Consult on how extracurricular activities like football can negatively affect studies if undertaken without balance. Consider primary purpose of study circle.

Section 21

Three elements at heart of system: 1. Sequence of courses 2. Study circle 3. Tutor

This section 21 deals with the Tutor. Discuss concept of service.

“The tie of servitude established between the worshiper and the adored One, between the creature and the Creator, should in itself be regarded as a token of His gracious favor unto men, and not as an indication of any merit they may possess.  To this testifieth every true and discerning believer.”(Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, XCIV pp. 193-194)

“If thou seekest eternal glory, let thyself be humble and meek in the presence of the beloved of God; make thyself the servant of all, and serve all alike.  The service of the friends belongs to God, not to them.  Strive to become a source of harmony, spirituality and joyfulness to the hearts of the friends and the maid-servants of the Merciful.  This is a cause of great satisfaction to Abdul-Baha.”(Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha Abbas vol.1, pp. 61-62)

Section 22 no quotations p. 91-92

Using “To the Collaborators” sections in each book tutors meet with other tutors and resource people. Purpose of tutor gatherings:

  • Further understanding of relevant concepts
  • polish one’s qualities and attitudes
  • improve skills and abilities
  • varied experiences are analyzed
  • answers sought to questions
  • Engaging in reciprocal process of learning
  • Responsibility of learning rests with participants
  • Process of education: participants become increasingly conscious of meaning and significance of actions
  • Three levels of comprehension 1. understanding the meaning of words and sentences from the Writings 2. See how concepts in the Writings apply to one’s daily life 3. Grasp some of the implications of the quotations. There are however many other levels of understanding and it does not really matter which unit is related to which level.
  • Specific purpose and limited usefulness of technique of dividing participant into pairs: one person reads passage, other formulates related question.
  • Ability to focus attention on the immediate and explicit meaning of passages from the Writings contributes to the creation of unity in Baha’i communities.
  • Counterproductive long discussion of meaning of single words
  • Establish a rhythm of progress in the study of each course
  • Avoid superficial approach that lack adequate analysis
  • Avoid prolonged distracting discussions
  • Recognize exercises that are intended to raise awareness through complexity
  • Be aware of underlying overall purpose of each unit
  • Be aware of one or two principal ideas that each section conveys

Section 234

Tutor gatherings (atmosphere of friendship, humility, learning)

Sections 23, 24, 25, 26

  •         – imaginary conversations with a resource person (considerable experience)

– Review of Book 1: Reflections on the Life of the Spirit: To the collaborators and Section 2: Exercise 3a: p.10 True/False: “There are so few people in the world that their actions do not have any effect.” 3c:p.10 : “Something is correct when it is in agreement with the teachings of God”. Deepening the understanding of Teachings of God to determine what is right or wrong, learning to listen to ideas and opinions of others.

– Review of technique/methodology of study circle: Instigating and prolonging discussions on exercise; discussion on wisdom, moral authority, illuminated but abstract discussions,

Review of Book 1: Unit 1: Understanding the Baha’i Writings: Section:2; Exercise 5: p.10. Deceptively simple exercise. Technique of study circle is to talk about wisdom of moral laws in a detached way, to respect participants’ dignity and help people think and make moral decisions. It is not to preach.

Review of Book 1: Unit 1: Understanding the Baha’i Writings: Section:2; Exercise 6: p.10-11.

– Consult on questions (regarding confession, “heaven of celestial glory”, effect of bad deeds on doer) on others in order to

  • Encouraged to reflect on moral behaviour
  • acquire an awareness that one’s actions affect the world and the well-being of humanity
  • gain an appreciation that one is responsible for one’s actions
7:2:23: p. 93-4. Exercise 1. Review of Book 1: Reflections on the Life of the Spirit: To the collaborators and Section 2: Exercise 3a: p.10 True/False: “There are so few people in the world that their actions do not have any effect.” 3c:p.10 : “Something is correct when it is in agreement with the teachings of God”.
“Applying passages of the Writings to one’s daily life. The study of the Revelation should lead to concerted effort to apply the Teachings, which requires thinking, consulting and analyzing one’s understanding in the light of experience. If this process is not well understood, unhealthy characteristics can appear in an individual or even in a community. For example, if someone constantly quotes from “scripture”, ignores every other source of knowledge, and refuses to give any credence to accumulated experience, he or she will have a tendency to be narrow-minded. On the other hand, a person who attaches too much importance to experience and human opinions and devalues the authority of the Holy Text falls prey to the kind of relativism according to which everything is a matter of culture or personal preference. Discuss in your group how both these propositions can result in superstition, intolerance, fanaticism and sloppiness (Book 7:Unit 2:Section 23:p.93-4) .”

7:2:23: p. 93-4. Exercise 2. Review of Book 1: Section 2: Exercise 3c:p.10 : “Something is correct when it is in agreement with the teachings of God”.

  • Importance of consulting others
  • When to consult others
  • When to seek advice
  • Importance of listening to others

7:2:23: p. 94. Exercise 3. Review of Book 1: Unit 1: Understanding the Baha’i Writings: Section:2; Exercise 5: p.10.

Examples of approaches that are neither effective nor advisable:

  • Be wary of falling into preaching ex. Don’t drink. Be chaste. Don’t lie.
  • Avoid teaching about the Laws by introducing concept of administrative sanctions (p. 94).

Section 24 pp. 95-6

Review of Book 1: Unit 1: Understanding the Baha’i Writings: Section:4; p.13

– Is it possible to lie to oneself is a question of behaviour not philosophy.

– True/False

– Practical steps to avoid backbiting Ex of flexibility in study circle process

Review of Book 1: Unit 1: Understanding the Baha’i Writings: Section:6; p.15

– What is a “kindly tongue”?

Review of method of True/False questions designed to take students through sequence of thoughts or help them examine a concept from various angles. Give examples of how this technique is used to enhance understanding.


  • Ensure everyone has a copy of “The Hidden Words.”
  • Read from the Writings daily morning and evening

Section 25 pp 96-98

Review of Book 1: Unite 2: Prayer
Concept of prayer

Purpose of prayer

Review of Book 1: Unite 2: Prayer Section:3

State of prayer

Review of Book 1: Unite 2: Prayer Section:4
Deep Meaning not vocabulary exercise: beseech, supplicate, intone, recite, scatter, obligatory
Review of Book 1: Unite 2: Prayer Section:5
Review of Book 1: Unite 2: Prayer Section:6
Memorization of sections of Long Obligatory Prayer

Importance of memorization

Power of Creative Word


“…and every breast which committeth His Words to memory, God shall cause, if it were that of a believer, to be filled with His love…”(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 99)

Section 26 – no quotations
Review of Book 1: Section 3: Life and Death
True/False questions
Acquire a thirst for spirituality by mediating on life after death
vain imaginings:4 aspects of life in the section related to question of identity

Section 27

Primary sources of motivation

  • Thirst for knowledge
  • Attraction to beauty
Study circle
Participation and participatory methods
Three participants in growth process
  • individual
  • community
  • institutions
The Universal House of Justice wrote,

“The role of the individual is of unique importance in the work of the Cause.  It is the individual who manifests the vitality of faith upon which the success of the teaching work and the development of the community depend.  Bahá’u’lláh’s command to each believer to teach His Faith confers an inescapable responsibility which cannot be transferred to, or assumed by, any institution of the Cause.  The individual alone can exercise those capacities which include the ability to take initiative, to seize opportunities, to form friendships, to interact personally with others, to build relationships, to win the cooperation of others in common service to the Faith and society, and to convert into action the decisions made by consultative bodies.  It is the individual’s duty to ‘consider every avenue of approach which he might utilize in his personal attempts to capture the attention, maintain the interest, and deepen the faith, of those whom he seeks to bring into the fold of his Faith.’

“To optimize the use of these capacities, the individual draws upon his love for Bahá’u’lláh, the power of the Covenant, the dynamics of prayer, the inspiration and education derived from regular reading and study of the Holy Texts, and the transformative forces that operate upon his soul as he strives to behave in accordance with the divine laws and principles.  In addition to these, the individual, having been given the duty to teach the Cause, is endowed with the capacity to attract particular blessings promised by Bahá’u’lláh.  ‘Whoso openeth his lips in this Day,’ the Blessed Beauty asserts, ‘and maketh mention of the name of his Lord, the hosts of Divine inspiration shall descend upon him from the heaven of My name, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.  On him shall also descend the Concourse on high, each bearing aloft a chalice of pure light.’”(The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 153, 1996)


“A community is of course more than the sum of its membership; it is a comprehensive unit of civilization composed of individuals, families and institutions that are originators and encouragers of systems, agencies and organizations working together with a common purpose for the welfare of people both within and beyond its own borders; it is a composition of diverse, interacting participants that are achieving unity in an unremitting quest for spiritual and social progress.  Since Bahá’ís everywhere are at the very beginning of the process of community building, enormous effort must be devoted to the tasks at hand.

“As we have said in an earlier message, the flourishing of the community, especially at the local level, demands a significant enhancement in patterns of behaviour:  those patterns by which the collective expression of the virtues of the individual members and the functioning of the Spiritual Assembly are manifest in the unity and fellowship of the community and the dynamism of its activity and growth.  This calls for the integration of the component elements — adults, youth and children — in spiritual, social, educational and administrative activities; and their engagement in local plans of teaching and development.  It implies a collective will and sense of purpose to perpetuate the Spiritual Assembly through annual elections.  It involves the practice of collective worship of God.  Hence, it is essential to the spiritual life of the community that the friends hold regular devotional meetings in local Bahá’í centres, where available, or elsewhere, including the homes of believers.”(The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 153, 1996)


  • Local

Section 28 – no quotations

Spiritual and moral empowerment

Attributes to acquire by those set on a path of moral and spiritual empowerment

Section 29

Dynamics of a study circle

Qualities of a tutor:

  • learn to nurture others
  • learn the art of encouragement
  • develop the ability to cultivate talent
  • detach from your own accomplishments
  • rejoice in growth and progress of others

“Today, all the peoples of the world are indulging in self-interest and exert the utmost effort and endeavour to promote their own material interests.  They are worshipping themselves and not the divine reality, nor the world of mankind.  They seek diligently their own benefit and not the common weal.  This is because they are captives of the world of nature and unaware of the divine teachings, of the bounty of the Kingdom and of the Sun of Truth.  But ye, praise be to God, are at present especially favoured with this bounty, have become of the chosen, have been informed of the heavenly instructions, have gained admittance into the Kingdom of God, have become the recipients of unbounded blessings and have been baptized with the Water of Life, with the fire of the love of God and with the Holy Spirit.

“Strive, therefore, with heart and soul that ye become ignited candles in the assemblage of the world, glittering stars on the horizon of Truth and may become the cause of the propagation of the light of the Kingdom; in order that the world of humanity may be converted into a divine realm, the nether world may become the world on high, the love of God and the mercy of the Lord may raise their canopy upon the apex of the world, human souls may become the waves of the ocean of truth, the world of humanity may grow into one blessed tree, the verses of oneness may be chanted and the melodies of sanctity may reach the Supreme Concourse.

“Day and night I entreat and supplicate to the Kingdom of God and beg for you infinite assistance and confirmation.  Do not take into consideration your own aptitudes and capacities, but fix your gaze on the consummate bounty, the divine bestowal and the power of the Holy Spirit — the power that converteth the drop into a sea and the star into a sun.

“Praise be to God, the hosts of the Supreme Concourse secure the victory and the power of the Kingdom is ready to assist and to support.  Should ye at every instant unloosen the tongue in thanksgiving and gratitude, ye would not be able to discharge yourselves of the obligation of gratitude for these bestowals.”(Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, No. 68 pp. 110-111)

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