[Advayavada Study Plan – week 16] 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, with the help of our personalized Noble Eightfold Path, with wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction; our reference standard is wondrous overall existence and not misguided and failing mankind.
The purpose of this 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, or affected by, such as our health, relationships, work, study, social environment and circumstances, etc.
The 13-week ASP can conveniently be repeated four times a year and this week the third preliminary subject of the ASP is again dukkha (Pali) or duhkha (Sanskrit), which means suffering, sorrow, dissatisfaction, frustration, anxiety, or stress; it is the first of the Buddha’s four noble truths (or four truths for the noble) and also the third of the three or, in Advayavada Buddhism, four signs or marks or basic facts of being (lakshanas), the other three being the impermanence or changeability of everything (see week 14), the selflessness and emptiness of all things (see week 15), and evolution or, in human terms, progress (cf. conatus, see next week, week 17).
In Advayavada Buddhism, dukkha or duhkha does not include, in the context of the four truths, emotional grief nor physical pain, which are part and parcel of sentient existence, and it 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.
This might again be as good a place as any to mention that for many people social drinking is a potential source of much future suffering. Bear in mind in this context most specially the persistent irrational taboo about admitting to alcohol abuse by ourselves or those close to us. Can one beat alcoholism? One can certainly fully neutralize alcohol addiction by ceasing to drink alcoholic beverages altogether, one day at the time, with the help of (a) our GP, (b) a personal psychological coach or counsellor, and (c) by joining a reputable support group to help us develop the necessary emotional counterpunch. This ASP provides an appropriate overall regular training to help us undo the harm and trauma caused by this costly and disruptive biopsychosocial (bps) disease.
Please take care of yourself and others by following the official pandemic guidelines, particularly those concerning hand washing, social distancing and where and when to use a mask! Please be supportive of the vaccination programmes as they are rolled out; beware of false information about the vaccines and of conspiracy theories generally. Feel free to share this post: these systematic teachings are beneficial for anyone and those interested can follow this weekly ASP themselves on, for instance, advayavadabuddhism dot org and/or by joining our research network on Facebook. Our recently updated website advayavada dot org contains comprehensive information about the Advayavada understanding of Buddhism and has a handy search box at the bottom of each page.