Advayavada Study Plan – week 8

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 8 of 13] Advayavada Buddhism does not tell you what to do or believe, but invites us all to make the very best of our own lives by attuning as best as possible with wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction. This 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year to support you in your efforts to this end. The method we follow is to study, debate and apply the weekly subject in the context of whatever we ourselves are presently doing or are concerned with, or about, such as our health, relationships, work, study, our place in society, etc. In weeks 1 to 5 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 6 we again honestly took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation at this time (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path), in week 7 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course (second step) bearing in mind that truly commendable undertakings are only those which are in agreement with wondrous overall existence and take us forward at the fundamental level of our life, and to continue with this quarter’s 13-week ASP, this week we shall again put our decision and improved objective privately in writing as precisely as possible. This task is based on the third step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-vacha (in Pali) or samyag-vac (in Sanskrit), in Advayavada Buddhism’s fully personalized usage: our very best enunciation or definition of our intention; in Dutch: onze beste uitleg (de derde stap op het edele achtvoudige pad).

Advayavada Study Plan – week 7

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 7 of 13] In Advayavada Buddhism, the Path is firmly based on what we increasingly know about ourselves and our world, and trusting our own intentions, feelings and conscience; adherence to the familiar five precepts (not to kill, not to steal, sexual restraint, not to lie, and refraining from alcohol and drugs) and a well-considered understanding of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs of being and the Buddha’s four noble truths suffice to start off and proceed on the Path at any time. Last week we again honestly took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation at this time, and to continue with this quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), this week we shall again take an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course, bearing in mind that commendable undertakings are particularly those which are in agreement with wondrous overall existence and take us forward at the fundamental level of our life. This task is based on the 2nd step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-sankappa (Pali) or samyak-samkalpa (Sanskrit), in Advayavada Buddhism’s personalized usage: our very best resolution or determination; in Dutch: onze beste beslissing (de tweede stap op het edele achtvoudige pad).

Advayavada Study Plan – week 6

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 6 of 13] When the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path as taught in Advayavada Buddhism is followed conscientiously, it becomes nothing less than the main karmic factor in one’s fleeting share in the universal interdependent origination process (madhyamaka-pratityasamutpada) which brings forth wondrous overall existence. The 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose: in weeks 1 to 5 we therefore again treated the preliminary subjects and, to continue with the ASP for this first quarter of 2017, this week we shall again honestly take stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation with respect to whatever we are presently doing or are concerned with, or about, such as our health, relationships, work, study, our place in society, etc. This task is based on the 1st step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-ditthi (Pali) or samyag-dristi (Sanskrit), in Advayavada Buddhism’s personalized usage: our very best comprehension or insight; in Dutch: ons beste inzicht (de eerste stap op het edele achtvoudige pad).

Advayavada Study Plan – week 5

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 5 of 13] In Secular Buddhism generally, the focus is on the correct interpretation and realization of the historical Buddha’s ‘four noble truths’: 1) the truth of the ubiquity of existential suffering in the world, 2) the truth that ignorant craving and attachment are the actual and immediate causes of such suffering, 3) the truth that this suffering shall cease altogether when we deal with and overcome its causes, and 4) the truth that the proven way to achieve this is by following the Noble Eightfold Path or Middle Way. In Advayavada Buddhism, the Path is understood dynamically, as an ongoing and fully autonomous, non-prescriptive, investigative and creative process of progressive insight, reflecting in human terms wondrous overall existence becoming over time in its manifest direction, this evolution or progress constituting, then, the fourth sign or mark or basic fact of being. It is composed stepwise of (1) our very best (samma in Pali and samyak in Sanskrit) comprehension or insight, followed by (2) our very best resolution or determination, (3) our very best enunciation or definition (of our intention), (4) our very best disposition or attitude, (5) our very best implementation or realization, (6) our very best effort or commitment, (7) our very best observation, reflection or evaluation and self-correction, and (8) our very best meditation or concentration towards an increasingly real experience of samadhi, which brings us to (1) a yet better comprehension or insight, and so forth.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 4

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 4 of 13] Human beings experience existential suffering (see week 3) most often because they wrongly strive after and try to hold on to things, concepts and situations which they believe to be permanent and unchanging, but are not. Their mistaken view and understanding of things is essentially the result of a thirst, craving or clinging (called tanha in Pali and trishna in Sanskrit) which is in turn caused by their fundamental ignorance (avijja, avidya) or disbelief of the true nature of existence, particularly the changeability of everything (see week 1) and the selflessness and emptiness of all things (see week 2), and this thirst, craving or clinging, which is the second of the four noble truths of Buddhism, can moreover easily take on a more unwholesome form: already as sensuous desire, ill-will (vyapada), laziness, impatience or distrust will it seriously hinder the individual’s efforts to better his or her circumstances, as well as affect the efforts of others to improve theirs.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 3

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 3 of 13] Dukkha (Pali) or duhkha (Sanskrit) means suffering, sorrow; dissatisfaction; frustration; stress; gnawing unease; existential distress, caused a.o. by distrust of life and fear of retribution; it is the first of the four noble truths of Buddhism. In Advayavada Buddhism, dukkha or duhkha does not include emotional grief nor physical pain and is, above all, not seen as a permanent feature of reality: in the context of the four noble truths, it is essentially understood as the existential suffering in the sense of a basic frustration, even suffocation, caused by the unhealthy and socially infectious feeling that reality does not conform to the person’s desires and expectations; it is, in Advayavada Buddhism, the third of the four signs or marks or basic facts of being, and the unremitting persistency of human distress, alienation and conflict in the world is seen as being mainly due to the very many everywhere indeed not knowing or not understanding or simply disbelieving the real, i.e. durational and finite, nature of personal existence.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 2

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 2 of 13] Anatta (Pali) or anatman (Sanskrit) means no-self. The Buddhist anatta or anatmata doctrine teaches that no soul, spirit or self exists in the person in the sense of a permanent, eternal, integral, and independent substance; in Mahayana Buddhism, the nissvabhava doctrine teaches further that because in fact all things without exception are produced by interdependent origination (madhyamaka-pratityasamutpada), they are all invariably empty (shunya) of self-nature (svabhava); svabhava-shunyata (lit. self-nature emptiness) is a central notion in Madhyamaka philosophy. In Advayavada Buddhism, it is the second of the four signs or marks or basic facts of being, the other three being the impermanence or changeability of everything (see week 1), the ubiquity of existential suffering, and evolution or, in human terms, progress.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 1

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 1 of 13] Anicca (Pali) or anitya (Sanskrit) means impermanent, changeable, unstable, transitory, and it is the first of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs or marks or basic facts of being. The Buddhist aniccata or anityata doctrine teaches that impermanence or changeability is the most fundamental property of everything existing; it lies at the very heart of the interdependent origination (madhyamaka-pratityasamutpada) and emptiness (shunyata) of all things, and evolution, progress and liberation would not be possible without it – karma is, in Advayavada Buddhism, this incessant universal process of interdependent origination of all things as it is undergone and experienced by sentient beings, our individual share of it being the everchanging knotlet of biopsychosocial (bps) events in which we are personally embedded.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 52

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 52] In weeks 40 to 44 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 45 we again honestly took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path), in week 46 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course (second step), in week 47 we again put our decision and improved objective in writing as precisely as possible (third step), in week 48 we further developed our very best attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step), in week 49 we implemented our improved way of doing things (fifth step), in week 50 we concentrated on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective (sixth step), in week 51 we again made our best possible evaluation of our efforts to date, including the measure of our compliance with the five precepts (seventh step), and, to conclude this quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, this week we shall continue to develop and deepen our very best meditation towards Samadhi* and our awareness of Nirvana. This task is based on the last step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-samadhi (in Pali) or samyak-samadhi (in Sanskrit); in Advayavada Buddhism’s personalized usage: our very best meditation or concentration towards samadhi; in Dutch: onze beste bezinning (de achtste stap op het edele achtvoudige pad).
*Samadhi (Pali and Sanskrit): perfect concentration (of the mind, enstasy); total absorption in the object of meditation; the merging of subject and object; realization of the sameness of the part and the whole, of the identity of body and mind, of form and emptiness, of samsara and nirvana, of the immediate and the ultimate; perfect attunement with wondrous overall existence advancing in its manifest direction; oceanic feeling; wonder, awe, rapture; essential purity; deep love and compassion; awareness of our common ground and the innocence of sex. Happy New Year everybody!

Advayavada Study Plan – week 51

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 51] In weeks 40 to 44 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 45 we again honestly took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path), in week 46 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course (second step), in week 47 we again put our decision and improved objective in writing as precisely as possible (third step), in week 48 we further developed our very best attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step), in week 49 we implemented our improved way of doing things (fifth step), in week 50 we concentrated on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective (sixth step), and, to continue with this quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, this week we shall again make our best possible evaluation of our efforts to date, including the measure of our compliance with the five precepts. This task is based on the seventh step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-sati (in Pali) or samyak-smriti (in Sanskrit); in Advayavada Buddhism’s personalized usage: our very best observation or reflection and self-correction; in Dutch: onze beste aandacht (de zevende stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). Next week is the last step in this 13-week cycle: we shall then continue to develop our very best meditation towards Samadhi and our awareness of Nirvana.