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 4 we continue to deepen our understanding that ignorant craving and attachment are the causes of existential suffering (the second noble truth of Buddhism) and that this suffering shall cease altogether (nirodha in both Pali and Sanskrit) when we deal with and overcome its causes (the third noble truth); in Dutch: het hechten is de oorzaak van het lijden en door ons te onthechten verlossen wij ons daarvan (de tweede en de derde edele waarheid)
According to Advayavada Buddhism, it is indisputable that the Buddha did not believe in Brahman (God, transcendent and immutable Absolute) or in the atta or atman (soul, immortal self, in Pali and Sanskrit) and taught that man ultimately suffers because he does not understand and accept that all things in life are instead utterly changeable and transitory; if the Buddha had ever expressed belief in Brahman and the atta or atman, such a crucial fact would have been unequivocally recorded in History.
Man is prone to suffering (dukkha, duhkha) quite simply because he wrongly strives after and tries to hold on to things, concepts and situations which he believes to be permanent, but are not, and his mistaken view of things is produced by a thirst, craving or clinging (called tanha in Pali and trishna in Sanskrit) which is in turn caused by his fundamental ignorance (avijja, avidya) of the true nature of reality. And this thirst, craving or clinging can easily take on a more unwholesome form: already as sensuous desire, ill-will, laziness, impatience or distrust will it seriously hinder any efforts to better his or her circumstances, as well as affect the efforts of others to improve theirs.
Feel free to share these weekly ASP instalments.