About John Willemsens

Dutch, b.1934, advayavadin.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 47

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 47] As already explained, 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 our personalized Noble Eightfold Path, with wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction. In weeks 40 to 44 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 45 we again honestly reviewed and took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation at this time 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. (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path); in week 46 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course, bearing in mind that truly commendable deeds are those which are in agreement with wondrous overall existence and take us forward at the fundamental level of our life (second step), and, to continue with this fourth quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, this week, in order to lay a strong foundation for achieving our goal, we shall again privately commit our decision and improved objective to paper 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). Feel free to share this post.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 46

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 46] As stated before, 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 (or four truths for the noble) suffice to start off and proceed on the Path at any time. 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 at this time 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. and, to continue with this fourth 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 truly commendable deeds are 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: our very best resolution or determination; in Dutch: onze beste beslissing (de tweede stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). Feel free to share this post.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 45

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 45] In Advayavada Buddhism, the Noble Eightfold Path is, as explained before, 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 (or four truths for the noble) suffice to start off and proceed on the Noble Eightfold Path at any time. When the Path is followed conscientiously, it becomes nothing less than the main karmic factor in one’s life, i.e. in one’s fleeting share in the universal interdependent origination process (madhyamaka-pratityasamutpada). The 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose: in weeks 40 to 44 we therefore again treated the preliminary subjects and, to continue with the current fourth quarter of 2019, this week we shall again honestly take stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation at this time 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: our very best comprehension or insight; in Dutch: ons beste inzicht (de eerste stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). Feel free to share this post.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 44

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 44] In Secular Buddhism generally, firmly bearing in mind the impermanence and changeability of everything (see week 40) and the selflessness and emptiness (and, therefore, finitude) of all things and beings (see week 41), the focus is on the correct interpretation and realization of the historical Buddha’s so-called ‘four noble truths’ or ‘four truths for the noble’, the first truth being that of the ubiquity of existential suffering in the world (see week 42); the second truth that ignorant craving and attachment are the actual and immediate causes of such suffering (see week 43); the third truth that this suffering shall cease altogether when we deal with and overcome its causes; and, the fourth 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. Our thus personalized Path 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

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 43] Non-liberated 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 and changeability of everything (see week 40) and the selflessness and emptiness (and, therefore, finitude) of all things and beings (see week 41). This thirst, craving or clinging, which is the second of the Buddha’s four noble truths or four truths for the noble ones (catur ariyasacca in Pali, catur aryasatya in Sanskrit), blinds them to the actual wonders and blessings of overall existence and can moreover easily take on a more unwholesome form: already as sensuous desire, ill-will (vyapada, also byapada), 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. Advayavada Buddhism, on its part, invites us all to instead intelligently make the very best of our own lives by attuning as best as possible with actual wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction. We do this by adhering to the five basic precepts (not to kill, not to steal, sexual restraint, not to lie, and refraining from alcohol and drugs) and conscientiously following our personalized Noble Eightfold Path. Feel free to share this post.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 42

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 42] 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 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 40), the selflessness and emptiness of all things (see week 41), and evolution or, in human terms, progress (see next week, week 43).
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 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.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 41

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 41] As already asserted, in Advayavada Buddhism the Path reflects the Whole and 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), which is based on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose and the second preliminary subject of this fourth quarter is again anatta (Pali) or anatman (Sanskrit), which literally 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 (pratityasamutpada, all-conditionality), indeed everything is empty (shunya) of self-nature (svabhava); svabhava-shunyata (lit. self-nature emptiness) is a central notion in Madhyamaka philosophy: in Advayavada Buddhism, the selflessness [and, therefore, the finitude] of all things is one of the four signs or marks or basic facts of being, the other three being the impermanence or changeability of everything (see last week, week 40), the ubiquity of existential suffering (see next week, week 42), and evolution or, in human terms, progress (see week 43). Feel free to share this post.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 40

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 40] In Advayavada Buddhism the Path reflects the Whole. It 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), which is based on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose and the first preliminary subject of this fourth 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 next week), and growth and evolution, progress, and liberation would not be possible without it. Karma is, in Advayavada Buddhism, the incessant universal process of interdependent origination (all-conditionality) of all things as it is undergone and experienced by sentient beings, our own individual share of it being the unique and everchanging knotlet of biopsychosocial (bps) events in which we are personally embedded (i.e. in which we participate and are subject to). Feel free to share this post. See also facebook.com/madhyamakapratityasamutpada/

Advayavada Study Plan – week 39

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 39] 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 purpose of the 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. In weeks 27 to 31 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 32 we again honestly reviewed and took stock of our personal situation (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path), in week 33 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course (second step), in week 34 we again privately put our decision and improved objective in writing as precisely as possible (third step), in week 35 we further developed our very best attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step), in week 36 we implemented our improved way of doing things (fifth step), in week 37 we concentrated on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective (sixth step), in week 38 we again made our best possible evaluation of our efforts to date, including the measure of our compliance with the five basic precepts (not to kill, not to steal, sexual restraint, not to lie, and refraining from alcohol and drugs) (seventh step), and, to conclude this third 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). Feel free to share this post.

*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 emptiness and interdependence (all-conditionality), of Samsara and Nirvana, of phenomena and the Absolute, 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. advayavada.org/#plan

The Five Buddhist Precepts

Traditionally, to become a lay Buddhist one voluntarily takes refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, and undertakes to comply with at least the first five of the Buddhist precepts (not to kill, not to steal, sexual restraint, not to lie, and refraining from alcohol and drugs). These Five Precepts (pañca-sila, pancha-shila, pansil) are the minimum moral obligations a lay Buddhist freely takes upon him or herself. The precise interpretation of these precepts aside for the moment, it is universally agreed that people who wantonly kill, steal, maybe molest children, cheat and deceive, or enjoy getting drunk or stoned, need not do the effort to embark on the Buddha’s Middle Way until they have first cleaned up their act. Now, as for their exact interpretation, they comprise ‘not only minimal morality, but basic morality capable of many degrees of fulfillment’ (Winston L. King). Whether, for instance, the first precept also forbids meat-eating, whether the third precept forbids alternative sexual practices, or whether the fifth precept forbids all alcoholic beverages and drugs or just the getting intoxicated as some maintain, this is therefore as well our own responsibility. One must only not lose sight of the underlying reason for these fundamental voluntary precepts, which is to become moral individuals able, as such, to follow the Noble Eightfold Path to eliminate existential suffering, angst and regret from our lives.