The term study circle has become common terminology in the Bahá'í Faith to describe a specific type of gathering for the study of the Bahá'í teachings, with an emphasis on "promoting the well-being of humanity."
Study circles are a form of distance learning designed to systematically bring education about spiritual concepts to the grassroots level. Because they are intended to be sustainable and reproducible on a large scale, study circles shy away from formally taught classes, opting instead for participatory methods. They are usually led by a tutor whose role is not to act as an expert but rather to facilitate the rhythm and pace of the study circle. In this way, attendees of study circles are expected to become active participants in their own learning process.
Another foundational principle of study circles is a heavy emphasis on the Bahá'í writings as a means of finding unity of vision and action by focusing on the essentials of Bahá'í belief.
At the present time, the most common curriculum used in study circles is one that was originally developed at the Ruhi Institute in Colombia but is now used in Bahá'í communities all over the world. Because of its origin, most Bahá'ís refer to this curriculum as the Ruhi sequence or Ruhi materials. Additional courses used by study circles vary from country to country and include the "Fundamental Verities" and "Core Curriculum" materials developed in the United States, among others.
- The introduction to 'Reflections on the Life of the Spirit' states that the Institute's purpose is "to use the courses as means of serving the Cause and promoting the well-being of humanity." (p. 1)
- Ruhi Foundation (reprinted 2003), written at Colombia, Book 7: Walking Together on a Path of Service, Ruhi Institute, West Palm Beach, Florida: Palabra Publications, ISBN 1890101079
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