[Advayavada Study Plan – week 8] In Advayavada Buddhism, the Noble Eightfold Path 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; 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 (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 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), which can conveniently be repeated four times a year, is that we study and maybe 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, both favourably and unfavourably, such as our health, relationships, work, study, social environment and circumstances, etc.
In weeks 1 to 5 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 6 we again honestly took stock of and responsibility for our personal situation and expectations at this time and in week 7 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course if necessary, bearing in mind that truly commendable initiatives are those which are in agreement with and reflect wondrous overall existence and take us forward at the fundamental level of our life.
To continue with this first quarter’s ASP, this week, week 8, in order to lay a strong foundation for achieving our goal, we shall again privately commit our decision and improved objective to paper (e.g. in our pocket diary) 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).
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