Advayavada Study Plan – week 19

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 19 = week 6 of 13, second quarter] In Advayavada Buddhism, the Noble Eightfold Path is fully personalized: it 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 on the Path at any time and, when the Buddha’s Eightfold Path as taught in Advayavada Buddhism is followed conscientiously, it becomes nothing less than the main karmic factor in one’s life. The 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose: in weeks 14 to 18 we again treated the preliminary subjects and, to continue with the current second 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 18

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 18 = week 5 of 13, second quarter] 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 sure 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 17

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 17 = week 4 of 13, second quarter] As explained, the concept of dukkha (Pali) or duhkha (Sanskrit) does not include, in Advayavada Buddhism, emotional grief nor physical pain. It refers solely to the existential suffering, angst and regret non-enlightened human beings are prone to, and is, therefore, considered as a remediable psychological affliction; the enlightened person accepts with understanding and compassion the sorrow and pain which are part and parcel of human existence. It is easy to see that human beings experience existential suffering mainly 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 most often the result of a thirst, craving or clinging (called tanha in Pali and trishna in Sanskrit) which is in turn caused by their not knowing (avijja or avidya) or not understanding or simply disbelieving the actual, i.e. impermanent, durational and finite, nature of individual existence, and this thirst, craving or clinging, which is the second of the four noble truths taught by the Buddha, 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 16

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 16 = week 3 of 13, second quarter] As stated before, 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 indeed 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 third preliminary subject is dukkha (Pali) or duhkha (Sanskrit), which means suffering, sorrow; dissatisfaction; frustration; stress; gnawing unease; existential distress, caused a.o. by distrust of life and fear of retribution. In Buddhism it is traditionally considered the third of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs or marks or basic facts of being and it is also the first of the four noble truths taught by the Buddha. Importantly, 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 by us 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; 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 actual, i.e. impermanent and finite, nature of individual existence.

The Objective of the Middle Way

The position of Advayavada Buddhism is that the objective of the Middle Way devoid of extremes propounded by the Buddha as the right existential attitude and way of life is to reconnect and reconcile us with overall existence. As we see it, overall existence, and not man’s abstract and conceptualized understanding of life, let alone his hubristic misrepresentations of reality, is the measure of things. We understand the Middle Way in its dynamic Eightfold Path form as an ongoing and open-ended reflexion at the level of our personal lives and in human terms of wondrous overall existence moving forwards over time in its manifest direction. By following this Path we seek to become a true part of the Whole.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 15

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 15 = week 2 of 13, second quarter] 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 indeed 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 is 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 14), the ubiquity of existential suffering, and evolution or, in human terms, progress.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 14

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 14 = week 1 of 13, second quarter] 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 indeed 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 is 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 next week), 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 13

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 13 of 13] 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 (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; in week 8 we again put our decision and improved objective privately in writing as precisely as possible (third step), in week 9 we further developed our very best disposition or attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step), in week 10 we implemented our well considered, improved way of doing things as best as possible (fifth step), in week 11 we concentrated on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective (sixth step), in week 12 we again made our best possible evaluation of our efforts to date, including the measure of our compliance with the 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 over time 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.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 12

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 12 of 13] 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 (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; in week 8 we again put our decision and improved objective privately in writing as precisely as possible (third step), in week 9 we further developed our very best disposition or attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step), in week 10 we implemented our well considered, improved way of doing things as best as possible (fifth step), in week 11 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, in week 12 we shall again make our best possible evaluation of our efforts to date, including the measure of our compliance with the precepts. This task is based on the 7th 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.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 11

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 11 of 13] 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 (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; in week 8 we again put our decision and improved objective privately in writing as precisely as possible (third step), in week 9 we further developed our very best disposition or attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step), in week 10 we again implemented our well considered, improved way of doing things as best as possible (fifth step) and, to continue with this quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, in week 11 we shall again concentrate on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective towards becoming ultimately a true part of the whole, as is the purpose of Advayavada Buddhism. This task is based on the sixth step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-vayama (in Pali) or samyag-vyayama (in Sanskrit); in Advayavada Buddhism’s personalized usage: our very best effort and commitment; in Dutch: onze beste inspanning (de zesde stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). Importantly, as we gain insight by advancing properly along the Path, we shall at the same time be ridding ourselves of the so-called ten fetters (dasa-samyojana) that restrict us to samsaric life, which are traditionally: 1) belief in the self, 2) scepticism regarding the Path, 3) attachment to rituals, 4) partiality for certain things, 5) prejudice against certain things, 6) clinging to physical life, 7) hope of a hereafter, 8) conceit and pride, 9) intolerance and irritability, and 10) the last remnants of our ignorance.