[Advayavada Study Plan – week 25] 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, by means of the Noble Eightfold Path, with wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction; we seek to become a true part of the whole in this way and our reference standard is wondrous overall existence and not misguided and failing mankind.
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), a well-considered understanding of the Buddha’s four noble truths and of the, in Advayavada Buddhism, four signs or marks or basic facts of being, suffice to start off and proceed on the Noble Eightfold Path at any time.
Evolution or, in human terms, our natural impulse or drive to progress, is recognized, in Advayavada Buddhism, as the fourth sign of being or caturtha lakshana (cf. conatus). To follow the personalized Noble Eightfold Path is our way of responding to it and when the Path is followed conscientiously, it becomes nothing less than the main karmic (and neuroplastic) factor in one’s life, i.e. in one’s fleeting share in the universal interdependent origination process (madhyamaka-pratityasamutpada) that brings forth wondrous overall existence.
The purpose of this autonomous and open-ended 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), which can conveniently be repeated four times in a calendar year, 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, or affected by, such as our health, relationships, work, study, social environment and circumstances, etc.
In weeks 14 to 18 we again treated the preliminary subjects; in week 19 we again honestly reviewed and took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation at this time (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path); in week 20 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course, bearing in mind that truly commendable individual initiatives are those which are in agreement with wondrous overall existence and take us forward at the fundamental level of our life (second step); in week 21, in order to lay a strong foundation for achieving our goal, we again privately committed our decision and improved objective to paper as precisely as possible (third step); in week 22, we further cultivated and developed our very best attitude and commitment to be able to improve our way of life as we aspire, in our quest to become a true part of the wondrous whole (fourth step), and in week 23 we implemented our improved modus operandi as best as possible (fifth step), and during week 24 we concentrated on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective (sixth step).
To continue with this second quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, during this week, week 25, we shall again make our best possible evaluation of our efforts to date, including the measure of our compliance with the familiar five basic precepts (not to kill, not to steal, sexual restraint, not to lie, and refraining from alcohol and drugs). This task is based on the seventh step on the Buddha’s 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).
During next week, week 26, we shall take the last step in the current 13-week cycle: we shall then continue to develop our very best meditation towards the sublime state of Samadhi and our awareness of Nirvana.
Please take care of yourself and others by following the official pandemic guidelines, particularly those concerning hand washing, social distancing and where and when to use a mask! Please be supportive of the vaccination programmes as they are rolled out; beware of false information about the vaccines and of conspiracy theories generally – herd immunity, also known as population immunity, is a must. Feel free to share this post: these systematic teachings are beneficial for anyone and those interested can follow this weekly ASP themselves on, for instance, advayavadabuddhism dot org and/or by joining our research network on Facebook. Our recently updated website advayavada dot org contains comprehensive information about the Advayavada understanding of Buddhism and has a handy search box at the bottom of each page.