[Advayavada Study Plan – week 2] As already asserted, in Advayavada Buddhism the Path reflects the Whole and 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 purpose of the autonomous Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), which is based on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path and five preliminary subjects, 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 13-week ASP is repeated four times a year and the second preliminary subject of this first 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 1), the ubiquity of existential suffering (see next week, week 3), and evolution or, in human terms, progress (see week 4). Feel free to share this post.