Advayavada Study Plan – week 1

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 1] In Advayavada Buddhism the Path reflects the Whole. 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, 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 Advayavada Study Plan is repeated four times a year and the first preliminary subject of this first quarter, which we shall again study during the coming seven days, is anicca (Pali) or anitya (Sanskrit), which means impermanent, changeable, unstable, transitory, and is traditionally considered the first of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs or marks or basic facts of being. The Buddhist aniccata or anityata doctrine teaches that impermanence or changeability is the most fundamental property of everything existing. It lies at the very heart of the interdependent origination and emptiness of all things (see next week), and growth and evolution, progress, and liberation would not be possible without it. Karma is, in Advayavada Buddhism, the incessant universal process of interdependent origination (all-conditionality) of all things as it is undergone and experienced by sentient beings, our own individual share of it being the unique and everchanging knotlet of biopsychosocial (bps) events in which we are personally embedded (i.e. in which we ourselves participate and are subject to). Feel free to share this post. We wish all our readers a very happy new year.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 52

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 52] 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 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, 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. In weeks 40 to 44 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 45 we again honestly reviewed and took stock of our personal situation (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path), in week 46 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course (second step), in week 47 we again privately put our decision and improved objective in writing as precisely as possible (third step), in week 48 we further developed our very best attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step), in week 49 we implemented our improved way of doing things (fifth step), in week 50 we concentrated on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective (sixth step), in week 51 we again made our best possible evaluation of our efforts to date, including the measure of our compliance with the five basic precepts (seventh step), and, to conclude this fourth quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, the coming seven days we shall continue to develop and deepen our very best meditation towards Samadhi* and our awareness of Nirvana. This task is based on the last step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-samadhi (in Pali) or samyak-samadhi (in Sanskrit); in Advayavada Buddhism’s personalized usage: our very best meditation or concentration towards samadhi; in Dutch: onze beste bezinning (de achtste stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). Feel free to share this post.

*Samadhi (Pali and Sanskrit): perfect concentration (of the mind, enstasy); total absorption in the object of meditation; the merging of subject and object; realization of the sameness of the part and the whole, of the identity of body and mind, of form and emptiness, of emptiness and interdependence (all-conditionality), of Samsara and Nirvana, of phenomena and the Absolute, of the immediate and the ultimate; perfect attunement with wondrous overall existence advancing in its manifest direction; oceanic feeling; wonder, awe, rapture; essential purity; deep love and compassion; awareness of our common ground and the innocence of sex.

The triumph of truth — Voltaire Foundation

In my work on the digital Voltaire iconography database, I frequently stumble across portraits of Voltaire which are particularly unexpected, funny, or have an interesting story to them. Sir Joshua Reynolds’ The Triumph of Truth, which hangs in Marischal College, Aberdeen, is a personal favourite. The Triumph of Truth is a portrait of James Beattie […]

The triumph of truth — Voltaire Foundation

Advayavada Study Plan – week 51

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 51] 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, by means of our personalized Noble Eightfold Path, with wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction. The purpose of the autonomous Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is that we study and debate the meaning and implications of the weekly subject 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. In weeks 40 to 44 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 45 we again honestly took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation at this time (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path), in week 46 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course bearing in mind that commendable undertakings are those which are in agreement with and reflect wondrous overall existence and take us forward at the fundamental level of our life (second step), in week 47 we again privately put our decision and improved objective in writing as precisely as possible (third step), in week 48 we further developed our very best attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step), in week 49 we implemented our improved way of doing things to the very best of our ability (fifth step), in week 50 we concentrated on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective (sixth step), and, to continue with this fourth quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, this week we shall again make our best possible evaluation of our efforts to date, including the measure of our compliance with the familiar five basic precepts: not to kill, not to steal, sexual restraint, not to lie, and refraining from alcohol and drugs. This task is based on the 7th step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-sati (in Pali) or samyak-smriti (in Sanskrit); in Advayavada Buddhism’s personalized usage: our very best observation or reflection and self-correction; in Dutch: onze beste aandacht (de zevende stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). In week 52 we shall take the last step in the current 13-week cycle: we shall then continue to develop our very best meditation towards Samadhi and our awareness of Nirvana. Feel free to share this post.

That unfortunate movement

Voltaire Foundation

Olympe de Gouges Olympe de Gouges, pioneer of women’s rights, here pictured handing Marie-Antoinette a copy of her Déclaration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne. Engraving by Desrais and Frussotte, c. 1790. (BnF/Gallica)

The French Revolution: A very short introduction was one of the earliest titles to be commissioned in what has become a very successful series – the nearest equivalent in English to the celebrated Que Sais-je? volumes published by Presses Universitaires de France. It appeared in 2001 and has enjoyed very healthy sales, both in English and in translation into a number of other languages. For this reason alone, after half a generation of new research a second edition to bring readers up to date seemed increasingly overdue. The problem with any new edition is how much to change, short of rewriting the whole thing. A lot of new research, though impeccably scholarly, is at a level…

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Baruch Spinoza: The God of Spinoza — The Classical World: Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome

Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) born Benedito de Espinosa was a Jewish-Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardi origin. By laying the groundwork for the Enlightenmentand modern biblical criticism,including modern conceptions of the self and the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. Along with René Descartes, Spinoza was a leading philosophical figure of the Dutch Golden Age. Spinoza’s given name, which means “Blessed”, varies among […]

Baruch Spinoza: The God of Spinoza — The Classical World: Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome

The Two Truths of Buddhism and The Emptiness of Emptiness — Emptiness Teachings

There are two truths in Buddhism, conventional and ultimate truth. This penetrating insight dates back to the original Buddha. Understanding the two truths and the relationship between them is vital in seeing through the illusion of inherent existence and realizing emptiness or Śūnyatā. ~ Nagarjuna’s philosophy of the Middle Way or Mahyamaka school of […]

The Two Truths of Buddhism and The Emptiness of Emptiness — Emptiness Teachings

Advayavada Study Plan – week 50

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 50] 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, by means of our personalized Noble Eightfold Path, with wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction. The purpose of the autonomous Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is that we study and debate the meaning and implications of the weekly subject 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. In weeks 40 to 44 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 45 we again honestly took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation at this time (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path), in week 46 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course (second step), in week 47 we again put our decision and improved objective in writing as precisely as possible (third step), in week 48 we further developed our very best attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step), in week 49 we implemented our improved way of doing things (fifth step), and, to continue with this fourth quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, this week 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 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. Feel free to share this post.