12. Teaching


  • Questions:
  1. What, why and how of teaching:
    What will you instruct/teach?
    Why will you instruct/teach?
    How will you instruct/teach?
    Who will you instruct/teach?
    When will you instruct/teach?
    What are the requirements for effective teaching?
  • Assignments
  1. Read and study William S. Hatcher’s The Concept of Spirituality , III. The Collective Dimension of Spirituality, 3. Social Evolution: World Order  and 4. Bahá’í Community (958-63), to get more and deeper background information for this and the next module.
  2. Meditate on passages from the compilation of Writings on Guidelines for Teaching at http://bahai-library.com/compilations/guidelines.teaching.html
  3. Goal setting and Practice:
    How can you make teaching the dominating passion of your life?
    Set goals to meet that objective and the objectives of this module.
    Make a clear plan to teach within the next week.
    Have a spiritual conversation with someone using and keeping in mind some of guidance in this module.

    Living a Spiritual Life:
    12. Teaching

    Rodney H. Clarken

    Copyright © 2011

    Module objective

    You will understand, appreciate and practice teaching the Cause of God.

    You will be able to answer how, how much, what, when, why and who to teach.

    What is the essential requisite for spiritual growth?

    5. Teaching the Cause of God.
    What is teaching?

    Highest form of service to another soul.

    A spiritual process that requires spiritual preparation, qualities and action.

    Greatest gift of God

    Most meritorious of all deeds. (GWB, p. 278)

    Why teach?

    Humanity is suffering and seeking a remedy. Those who have it should share it with them.

    To build capacity: to teach is to learn

    If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindness and goodwill. (Gleanings Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 289)

    When to teach?

    When the will and the desire are strong enough, the means will be found and the way opened. (Shoghi Effendi, Ind. & Teaching, #116)

    Before all else, teach your own self.

    The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and in the love of God a shining torch. (Abdul-Baha, Tablets of Divine Plan, p. 54)

    How to teach?

    Should any one among you be incapable of grasping a certain truth, or be striving to comprehend it, show forth, when conversing with him, a spirit of extreme kindliness and good-will. Help him to see and recognize the truth, without esteeming yourself to be, in the least, superior to him, or to be possessed of greater endowments. (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 8)

    How much to teach?

    “Not everything that a man knoweth can be disclosed, nor can everything that he can disclose be regarded as timely, nor can every timely utterance be considered as suited to the capacity of those who hear it.“ (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, 176)

    What is the aim of teaching?

    The aim is this: The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and in the love of God a shining torch. (cont.)

    How to get results?

    Should he become as such, his sanctified breath will even affect the rock; otherwise there will be no result whatsoever. As long as a soul is not perfected, how can he efface the defects of others? Unless he is detached from aught else save God, how can he teach severance to others?(`ABDU’L-BAHÁ, Tablets of the Divine Plan,54)

    What is better than possessing everything?

    It is better to guide one soul than to possess all that is on earth, for as long as that guided soul is under the shadow of the Tree of Divine Unity, he and the one who hath guided him will both be recipients of God’s tender mercy, whereas possession of earthly things will cease at the time of death. (THE BÁB, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, 77)

    What is the greatest glory and honor?

    The greatest glory and honor which can come to an individual is to bring the light of guidance to some new soul. (SHOGHI EFFENDI, The Individual and Teaching, #98, p.35)

    What should be the dominating passion of our life?

    let us arise to teach His Cause with righteousness, conviction, understanding and vigor….Let us make it the dominating passion of our life. (SHOGHI EFFENDI, The Individual and Teaching, #32, p.15)

    What is our greatest gift and first obligation?

    Of all the gifts of God, the greatest is the gift of teaching. It draweth unto us the Grace of God and is our first obligation. (‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ, Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p.25)

    What is the most meritorious of all deeds?

    Teach ye the Cause of God, O people of Bahá, for God hath…regardeth it as the most meritorious of all deeds. (BAHÁ’U’LLÁH, Gleanings, p. 278)

    What is the path of guidance?

    The path to guidance is one of love and compassion, not of force and coercion. This hath been God’s method in the past, and shall continue to be in the future. (THE BÁB, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, page: 77)

    How should we instruct others?

    In accordance with the divine teachings in this glorious dispensation we should not belittle anyone and call him ignorant, saying: ‘You know not, but I know.’ Rather we should look upon others with respect and when attempting to explain and demonstrate, we should look upon others with respect and when attempting to explain and demonstrate,

    we should speak as if we are investigating the truth, saying:

    ‘Here these things are before us. Let us investigate to determine where and in what form the truth can be found.’…The teacher should not see in himself any superiority: he should speak with the utmost kindliness, lowliness, and humility, for such speech exerteth influence and educateth the souls.

    (‘ÁBDU’L-BAHÁ, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 30)

    How should we be and speak to others?

    Consort with all men…in the spirit of friendliness and fellowship….A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. (BAHÁ’U’LLÁH, Gleanings, p. 289)

    Why should we be enkindled?

    When a speaker’s brow shineth with the radiance of the love of God, at the time of his exposition of a subject, and he is exhilarated with the wine of true understanding, he becometh the centre of a potent force which like unto a magnet will attract the hearts. This is why the expounder must be in the utmost enkindlement. (`ABDU’L-BAHÁ: Guidelines for Teaching, 299)

    How important is inspiration?

    An humble man without learning, but filled with the Holy Spirit, is more powerful than the most nobly born, profound scholar without that inspiration. (‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ, Paris Talks, p. 165)

    How can we inspire others?

    “If he be kindled with the fire of His love, if he forgoeth all created things, the words he uttereth shall set on fire them that hear him.” (BAHÁ’U’LLÁH, in Advent of Divine Justice, p. 51)

    What is first and foremost?

    “First and foremost one should resort to every possible means to purge one’s heart and motives, otherwise it would be futile to engage in any form of enterprise. It is also essential to abstain from hypocrisy and blind imitation, inasmuch as their foul odor would soon be detected by every man of understanding and wisdom. (cont.)

    How do we get confirmation?

    Moreover the friends must observe the specific times for the remembrance of God, meditation, devotion and prayer, as it is highly unlikely, nay, rather impossible, that any enterprise should prosper and develop short of divine bestowals and confirmation. (cont.)

    What is the role of love, truthfulness and purity?

    One can hardly imagine what a great influence genuine love, truthfulness and purity of motives exert on the souls of men. But these traits cannot be acquired unless every believer makes a daily effort to gain them…. (cont.)

    How do we demonstrate the truth?

    “It is primarily through the potency of noble deeds and character, then by the power of exposition and proofs that the friends of God should demonstrate to the world the fact that what has been promised by God is bound to happen, that it is already taking place and that the divine glad-tidings are clear, evident and complete.” (Shoghi Effendi in The Individual and Teaching,  #31, p. 15)

    What should sanctified souls do?

    The sanctified souls should ponder and meditate in their hearts regarding the methods of teaching. From the texts of the wondrous, heavenly Scriptures they should memorize phrases and passages bearing on various instances,

    Why should we memorize passages?

    so that in the course of their speech they may recite divine verses whenever the occasion demandeth it, inasmuch as these holy verses are the most potent elixir, the greatest and mightiest talisman. So potent is their influence that the hearer will have no cause for vacillation. (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 200)

    When will the Faith spread rapidly?

    …when they meditate on the teaching, pray fervently for divine confirmations for their work, study the teachings so they may carry the spirit to the seeker, and then act, — and above all persevere in action. When these steps are followed, and the teaching work carried on sacrificially and with devoted enthusiasm, the Faith will spread rapidly. (Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 71-2)

    What is required for effective teaching?

    …to effectively teach the Faith, the individual must study deeply, the Divine Word, imbibe Its life-giving waters, and feast upon Its glorious teachings. He should then meditate on the import of the Word, and finding its spiritual depths, pray for guidance and assistance. But most important, after prayer is action. (cont.)

    What else is necessary?

    After one has prayed and meditated, he must arise, relying fully on the guidance and confirmation of Bahá’u’lláh, to teach His Faith. Perseverance in action is essential, just as wisdom and audacity are necessary for effective teaching. The individual must sacrifice all things to this great goal, and then the victories will be won. (on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 5/30/56)

    Name some requirements for effective teaching.

    Some requirements for effective teaching.

    individual must study deeply, the Divine Word, imbibe Its life-giving waters, and feast upon Its glorious teachings.

    meditate on the import of the Word, and finding its spiritual depths, pray for guidance and assistance.

    action.

    More requirements

    4. relying fully on the guidance and confirmation of Bahá’u’lláh.

    5. perseverance in action.

    6. wisdom and audacity .

    7. sacrifice all things to this great goal.

    Answer these questions.

    How can you teach others?

    What will you teach them?

    Why will you teach them?

    Who will you teach?

    When will you teach?

    How much should you teach others?

    Answers can be found in the previous slides.

    Assignment: Read and Study

    Read William S. Hatcher’s The Concept of Spirituality , III. The Collective Dimension of Spirituality, 3. Social Evolution: World Order  and 4. Bahai Community (958-63), to get more and deeper background information for this and the next module.

    Assignment: Meditate

    Meditate on passages from the compilation of Writings on guidelines for teaching at http://bahai-library.com/compilations/guidelines.teaching.html

    As you do, think about how you can convey, understand and fulfill  them  better in your life.

    How can you make teaching the dominating passion of your life?

    Assignment: Goal Setting

    Set goals to be a better teacher of the Cause of God. You may review this unit to determine what your short-term and long term goals should be. Make a clear plan to teach within the next  day/week/month.

    Assignment: Practice

    Have a spiritual conversation with someone using and keeping in mind some of guidance in this module. Try to do this daily.

    You have finished this module and may proceed to the next when you are ready.

    13. Service

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s