[Advayavada Study Plan – week 16] As already asserted, in Advayavada Buddhism the Path reflects the Whole and does not tell you what to do or believe. The purpose of this ongoing and autonomous Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), which is based on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, is that we study (and debate in a local group, the family circle or with good friends) the meaning and implications of the weekly subject, not as a formal and impersonal intellectual exercise, but 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.
The third preliminary subject of the ASP is dukkha (Pali) or duhkha (Sanskrit) which means suffering, sorrow, dissatisfaction, frustration, anxiety, or stress; it is the first of the four noble truths (or four truths for the noble) 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 14), the selflessness and emptiness of all things (see week 15), and evolution or, in human terms, progress (see next week, week 17).
In Advayavada Buddhism, dukkha or duhkha does not include, in the context of the four 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 ubiquity and unremitting persistency of human distress, alienation and conflict is undeniably especially due to the very many everywhere in the world not being taught or not comprehending or simply disbelieving and often dogmatically denying the basically impermanent and finite nature of their individual existence.
Advayavada Buddhism, on its part, invites us all (also in the present very challenging stretch of time, with its special requirements, like the all-important social distancing) to instead intelligently make the very best of our own short lives by attuning as best as possible with actual wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction. We do this by conscientiously following our personalized Noble Eightfold Path. Feel free to share this post.