Advayavada Study Plan – week 2

Dear friends,

The purpose of Advayavada Buddhism is to become a true part of the whole.

Our quest 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, which are the subjects of weeks 1 to 5, suffice to start off on this Path at any time.

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 Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year.

The purpose of the autonomous ASP 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.

(My own specific personal objective this new quarter is to observe and interpret as closely as possible the workings in my own life of pratityasamutpada, i.e. the process of universal relativity or interdependent origination, as in Madhyamaka, where ‘all causes are effects and all effects are causes’, and karma, understood as the everchanging knotlet of biopsychosocial events in which I am personally embedded – what’s yours?)

To continue this weekly series, in week 2 we shall again study the selflessness and finitude of all things as thoroughly as possible; in Dutch: de vergankelijkheid van alles (het tweede kenmerk van het bestaan)

This task is based on the Buddhist anatta (Pali) or anatmata (Sanskrit) doctrine. Anatta or anatman means that no self exists in the person in the sense of a permanent, eternal, integral, and independent substance. It is one of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs or marks or basic facts of being. Human beings currently live for about 4,000 weeks.

In Mahayana Buddhism, the nisvabhava (Sanskrit) doctrine teaches further that in fact all things without exception are empty (shunya) of self-nature (svabhava), i.e. devoid of self-sufficient, independent existence or lasting substance. Everything, indeed, arises, abides, changes and extinguishes in accordance with pratityasamutpada, i.e. the process of universal relativity or interdependent origination, meaning here that ‘all causes are effects and all effects are causes’. Svabhava-shunyata is a central notion in Madhyamaka philosophy.

Feel free to share these weekly ASP instalments.

Kind regards,
John Willemsens,
Advayavada Foundation.
@advayavada

Advayavada Study Plan – week 41

Dear friends,

The purpose of Advayavada Buddhism is to become a true part of the whole.

Our quest 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 this Path at any time.

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 Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year.

The purpose of the autonomous ASP 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.

(As stated earlier, my personal specific objective this quarter is to further investigate and explain to my fellow Buddhists in my country and elsewhere what is meant by the ‘whole’ in the non-dual and life-affirming philosophy and way of life we call Advayavada Buddhism – what’s yours?)

To continue this weekly series, in week 41 we shall again study the selflessness and finitude of all things as thoroughly as possible; in Dutch: de vergankelijkheid van alles (het tweede kenmerk van het bestaan)

This task is based on the Buddhist anatta (Pali) or anatmata (Sanskrit) doctrine. Anatta or anatman means that no self exists in the person in the sense of a permanent, eternal, integral, and independent substance. It is one of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs or marks or basic facts of being. Human beings currently live about 4,000 weeks.

In Mahayana Buddhism, the nisvabhava (Sanskrit) doctrine teaches further that in fact all things without exception are empty (shunya) of self-nature (svabhava), i.e. devoid of self-sufficient, independent existence or lasting substance. Everything, indeed, arises, abides, changes and extinguishes in accordance with the universal process of interdependent origination or pratityasamutpada, meaning that ‘all causes are effects and all effects are causes’. Svabhava-shunyata is a central notion in Madhyamaka philosophy.

Kind regards,
John Willemsens,
Advayavada Foundation.
@advayavada

Advayavada Study Plan – week 28

Dear friends,

The purpose of Advayavada Buddhism is to become a true part of the whole.

The purpose of the autonomous Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) 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.

Advayavada Buddhism does not tell you what to do or believe, but how 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 ASP is repeated four times a year.

As stated last week, my personal specific objective this quarter is to further explain the tenets of the non-dual and life-affirming philosophy and way of life we call Advayavada Buddhism to my fellow Buddhists in my country and elsewhere – what’s yours?

To continue this weekly series, this week (28) we shall again study the selflessness and finitude of all things as thoroughly as possible.

This task is based on the Buddhist anatta (Pali) or anatmata (Sanskrit) doctrine. Anatta or anatman means that no self exists in the person in the sense of a permanent, eternal, integral, and independent substance. It is one of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs or marks or basic facts of being. Humans live about 4,000 weeks.

In Mahayana Buddhism, the nisvabhava (Sanskrit) doctrine teaches further that in fact all things without exception are empty (shunya) of self-nature (svabhava), i.e. devoid of self-sufficient, independent existence or lasting substance. Everything, indeed, arises, abides, changes and extinguishes in accordance with the universal process of interdependent origination or pratityasamutpada, meaning that ‘all causes are effects and all effects are causes’. Svabhava-shunyata is a central notion in Madhyamaka philosophy.

Kind regards,
John Willemsens,
Advayavada Foundation.
@advayavada

Advayavada Study Plan – week 15

Dear friends,

The purpose of Advayavada Buddhism is to become a true part of the whole.

The purpose of the autonomous Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) 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.

Advayavada Buddhism does not tell you what to do or believe, but how 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 ASP is repeated four times a year.

As stated last week, my personal specific objective this new quarter is to further develop my good relations with fellow Buddhists in my country – no doubt you have your own specific objective.

To continue this weekly series, this week (15) we shall again study the selflessness and finitude of all things as thoroughly as possible.

This task is based on the Buddhist anatta (Pali) or anatmata (Sanskrit) doctrine. Anatta or anatman means that no self exists in the person in the sense of a permanent, eternal, integral, and independent substance. It is one of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs or marks or basic facts of being.

In Mahayana Buddhism, the nisvabhava (Sanskrit) doctrine teaches further that in fact all things without exception are empty (shunya) of self-nature (svabhava), i.e. devoid of self-sufficient, independent existence or lasting substance. Everything, indeed, arises, abides, changes and extinguishes in accordance with the universal process of interdependent origination or pratityasamutpada, meaning that ‘all causes are effects and all effects are causes’. Svabhava-shunyata is a central notion in Madhyamaka philosophy.

Kind regards,
John Willemsens,
Advayavada Foundation.
@advayavada

Advayavada Study Plan – week 2

Dear friends,

The purpose of Advayavada Buddhism is to become a true part of the whole.

The purpose of the Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) 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.

Advayavada Buddhism does not tell you what to do or believe, but how 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.

As stated last week, my own objective for the coming weeks is to try to deepen my joyous equanimity in face of the vicissitudes of life – no doubt you have your own specific objective.

In week 2 of this overall Study Plan, we shall again study the selflessness and finitude of all things as thoroughly as possible.

This task is based on the Buddhist anatta (Pali) or anatmata (Sanskrit) doctrine. Anatta or anatman means that no self exists in the person in the sense of a permanent, eternal, integral, and independent substance. It is one of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs or marks or basic facts of being.

In Mahayana Buddhism, the nisvabhava (Sanskrit) doctrine teaches further that in fact ‘all things are empty (shunya) of self-nature (svabhava), i.e. devoid of self-sufficient, independent existence or lasting substance’; everything, indeed, arises, abides, changes and extinguishes in accordance with the universal process of interdependent origination or pratityasamutpada (as understood in Madhyamaka philosophy, where ‘all causes are effects and all effects are causes’).

Kind regards and a Happy New Year,
John Willemsens,
Advayavada Foundation.
@advayavada

The Buddha’s Conception of the Universe (Warder)

The Buddha’s Conception of the Universe (from Outline of Indian Philosophy, by Prof. A. K. Warder, 1956, 1960, 1964, Delhi 1971)

The Buddha’s conception of the universe is thus of natural and impersonal forces and processes, of conditions and phenomena, transient, with no enduring substances. It is not correct to speak of persons ‘who’ do things, but only of events which occur. It is enough to describe the ‘qualities’ (a possible translation of ‘dharma’, which we have otherwise translated ‘phenomena’) and the conditions under which they appear. There is no justification for assuming any substance, not definable apart from these qualities, in addition to the qualities we observe. This is a conception of the universe which is de-personified, de-anthropomorphised, a collection of natural forces and phenomena to be described without postulating any unnecessary entities, or in fact any entities at all, only the minimum of observable qualities. It is a thoroughly empiricist conception. It implies a whole critique, an analysis, of metaphysical concepts (such as ‘soul’), worked out in detail by later Buddhist philosophers, and of metaphysical statements (such as ‘the universe is eternal’). No doubt in many of the texts the language of the ordinary people of India is used, with its ‘persons’ and its popular conceptions of all kinds. But this is popular preaching for the sake of teaching moral precepts to ordinary people, in language they can understand; we are expressly told in the properly philosophical, or we might say scientific, texts, that to be accurate we must drop the personifications of everyday language: if taken literally, such personifications will lead to untenable metaphysical extremes such as an eternal, and therefore unchanging, soul, or the annihilation of a soul which persisted for a lifetime only. Nirvana, finally, is not the annihilation of a soul, or the release of a soul, it is simply the cessation of a process, of a sequence of events.

The Advayavada Study Plan

The revelation of Buddhism is in its practice: The Noble Eightfold Path, when interpreted dynamically as an ongoing and autonomous, non-prescriptive, investigative and creative process of progressive insight reflecting in human terms wondrous overall existence advancing over time, as Advayavada Buddhism does, is (1) that of our very best (samyak, samma) 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 a yet better comprehension or insight, and so forth.

By following the Noble Eightfold Path thus you get in tune with wondrous overall existence advancing over time, sorrow, doubt and remorse immediately start disappearing, and your life at once gathers new impetus. The Noble Eightfold Path in Advayavada Buddhism is fully personalized: it is firmly based on what we increasingly know about ourselves and our world, and trusting our own feelings and conscience. Adherence to the familiar Five Precepts and a well-considered understanding of the Four Signs of Being and the Four Noble Truths suffice to start off on the Path at any time. Nirvana is, in Advayavada Buddhism, the total extinction of existential suffering as a result of our complete reconciliation with reality as it truly is. The Path is, in other words, the sure road to enlightenment.

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samadhi = total concentration (of the mind, cf. enstasy); non-dualistic state of consciousness in which the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object; total absortion in the object of meditation; transcendence of the relationship between mind and object; merging of subject and object; to contemplate the world without any perception of objects; suspension of judgement; turiyatita; satori; bodhi; rigpa; realization of the sameness of the part and the whole, of the identity of form and emptiness, of samsara and nirvana, of the immediate and the ultimate; mystic oneness; perfect attunement with wondrous overall existence; oceanic feeling; wonder, awe, rapture; essential purity; deep love and compassion; awareness of our common ground and the innocence of sex.

The purpose of the autonomous Advayavada Study Plan ASP 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. Advayavada Buddhism does not tell you what to do or believe, but how to make the very best of our own lives by becoming as wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction.

Week of the current year and subject:

Preliminary subjects:
01 – 14 – 27 – 40 : The impermanence of all existents (First Sign of Being).
02 – 15 – 28 – 41 : The selflessness of all existents (Second Sign of Being).
03 – 16 – 29 – 42 : Existential suffering (Third Sign of Being and First Noble Truth).
04 – 17 – 30 – 43 : Craving and its elimination (Second and Third Noble Truths).
05 – 18 – 31 – 44 : Path and Progress (Fourth Noble Truth and Fourth Sign of Being).

The Noble Eightfold Path:
06 – 19 – 32 – 45 : Our very best comprehension (1st Step on the Noble 8fold Path).
07 – 20 – 33 – 46 : Our very best resolution (2nd Step on the Noble 8fold Path).
08 – 21 – 34 – 47 : Our very best enunciation (3rd Step on the Noble 8fold Path).
09 – 22 – 35 – 48 : Our very best disposition (4th Step on the Noble 8fold Path).
10 – 23 – 36 – 49 : Our very best implementation (5th Step on the Noble 8fold Path).
11 – 24 – 37 – 50 : Our very best effort (6th Step on the Noble 8fold Path).
12 – 25 – 38 – 51 : Our very best observation (7th Step on the Noble 8fold Path).
13 – 26 – 39 – 52 : Our very best meditation (8th Step on the Noble 8fold Path).

…and so forth!

Tip: Write down the weekly subject in your pocket diary!