[Advayavada Study Plan – week 44] In Secular Buddhism generally, firmly bearing in mind the impermanence of everything and the selflessness and emptiness of all things, the focus is on the correct interpretation and realization of the historical Buddha’s so-called ‘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 sure way to achieve this is by following the Noble Eightfold Path, which, in Advayavada Buddhism, 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 being, 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. Feel free to share this post.
[Advayavada Study Plan – week 43] Human beings are essentially prone to existential suffering (see week 42) because they wrongly strive after and try to hold on to things, concepts and situations which they believe to be permanent, but are not. Their mistaken view of things is produced by a thirst, craving or clinging (tanha in Pali, trishna in Sanskrit) which is in turn caused by their fundamental ignorance (avijja in Pali, avidya in Sanskrit) or disbelief of the true nature of existence, particularly the impermanence of everything (see week 40) and the selflessness of all things (see week 41). This thirst, craving or clinging, which is the second noble truth of Buddhism, blinds them to the actual wonders of overall existence and can moreover easily take on a more unwholesome form: already as sensuous desire, ill-will, laziness, impatience or distrust will it seriously hinder the individual’s efforts to better his or her circumstances, as well as contaminate the efforts of others to improve theirs. Feel free to share this post.
[Advayavada Study Plan – week 42] Dukkha (Pali) or duhkha (Sanskrit) means suffering, sorrow, dissatisfaction, frustration, anxiety, or stress; it is the first of the four noble truths of Buddhism and also the third of the three or, in Advayavada Buddhism, four signs or marks or basic facts of being, the other three being the impermanence or changeability of everything (see week 40), the selflessness and emptiness of all things (see week 41), and evolution or, in human terms, progress. In Advayavada Buddhism, dukkha or duhkha does not include, in the context of the four noble truths, emotional grief nor physical pain, and is, above all, not seen as a permanent or inevitable feature of reality; it is chiefly understood as the existential distress and distrust of life non-liberated human beings are prone to and which are essentially caused by the unhealthy and socially infectious feeling that reality does not conform to their petty desires and mistaken expectations. The unremitting persistency of human distress, alienation and conflict is undeniably especially due to the very many everywhere in the world not knowing or not comprehending or simply disbelieving the basically impermanent and finite nature of their individual existence. Feel free to share this post.
[Advayavada Study Plan – week 41] As already asserted, 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. The 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose and the second preliminary subject of this new quarter is again anatta (Pali) or anatman (Sanskrit), which means no-self and is traditionally considered the second of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs or marks or basic facts of being; 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, as in fact all things without exception are produced by interdependent origination, every single thing is consequently empty (shunya) of self-nature (svabhava); svabhava-shunyata (lit. self-nature emptiness) is a central notion in Madhyamaka philosophy: in Advayavada Buddhism, the selflessness of all existents is one of the four signs or marks or basic facts of being, the other three being the impermanence or changeability of everything (see week 40), the ubiquity of existential suffering (see next week), and evolution or, in human terms, progress (see the week after that). Feel free to share this post.
[Advayavada Study Plan – week 40] 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. The 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose and the first preliminary subject of this new quarter is again anicca (Pali) or anitya (Sanskrit), which means impermanent, changeable, unstable, transitory, and is traditionally considered 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 and emptiness of all things (see week 41), 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 unique and everchanging knotlet of biopsychosocial (bps) events in which we are personally embedded. Feel free to share this post.