The purpose of this autonomous and open-ended 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), which can conveniently be repeated four times in a calendar year, 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 and state of mind, relationships and responsibilities, work, study, as well as our physical and social environment and circumstances, etc.
In weeks 1 to 5 we again treated the preliminary subjects; in week 6 we again honestly reviewed and took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation and expectations at this time (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path); in week 7 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course, bearing in mind that truly commendable initiatives are those which are in agreement with wondrous overall existence and take us forward at the fundamental level of our lives (second step); in week 8, in order to lay a strong foundation for achieving our goal, we again privately committed our decision and improved objective to paper as precisely as possible (third step); and in week 9 we further cultivated and developed our very best attitude and commitment to be able to improve our way of life as we aspire, in our personal quest to become a true part of the wondrous whole (fourth step).
Last week, in week 10, we implemented our improved modus operandi as best as possible and, to continue with this first quarter’s ASP, during this week, week 11, we shall again concentrate on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective. This task is based on the sixth step on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path: samma-vayama (in Pali) or samyag-vyayama (in Sanskrit); in Advayavada Buddhism’s personalized usage: our very best effort and commitment; in Dutch: onze beste inspanning (de zesde stap op het edele achtvoudige pad).
Importantly, as we advance properly along the Buddha’s Middle Way responding to his promise of Nirvana, we shall at the same time be ridding ourselves of the so-called ten fetters (dasa-samyojana) that would restrict us to samsaric life: 1) belief in the self, 2) scepticism regarding the Path, 3) attachment to rituals, 4) partiality for certain things, 5) prejudice against certain things, 6) clinging to physical life, 7) hope of a hereafter, 8 ) conceit and pride, 9) intolerance and irritability, and 10) the last remnants of our ignorance of the true nature of reality.
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