Advayavada Study Plan – week 19

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 19] In Advayavada Buddhism, the Noble Eightfold Path is, as explained before, fully personalized: 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 factor in one’s life, i.e. in one’s fleeting share in the universal interdependent origination process (madhyamaka-pratityasamutpada). The 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose: in weeks 14 to 18 we therefore again treated the preliminary subjects and, to continue with this first quarter of 2020, this week we shall again honestly take stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation at this time with respect to whatever we are presently doing or are concerned with, or about, such as our health, relationships, work, study, our place in society, etc. This task is based on the 1st step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-ditthi (Pali) or samyag-dristi (Sanskrit), in Advayavada Buddhism: our very best comprehension or insight; in Dutch: ons beste inzicht (de eerste stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). Feel free to share this post. Please take care of yourself and others in these challenging times! Follow the official guidelines, particularly those concerning social distancing!

Advayavada Study Plan – week 18

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 18] In Secular Buddhism generally, firmly bearing in mind the impermanence and changeability of everything (see week 14) and the selflessness and emptiness (and, therefore, finitude) of all things and beings (see week 15), the focus is on the correct interpretation and realization of the historical Buddha’s so-called ‘four noble truths’ or ‘four truths for the noble’. The first of these truths is that of the ubiquity of existential suffering in the world (see week 16); the second truth is that ignorant craving and attachment are the actual and immediate causes of such suffering (see week 17); the third truth is that this suffering shall cease altogether when we deal with and overcome its causes; and the fourth truth is that the sure way to achieve this is by following the Noble Eightfold Path. In Advayavada Buddhism, the 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; this evolution or progress is seen in Advayavada Buddhism as the fourth sign or mark or basic fact of being. Our thus personalized Path is composed stepwise of (1) our very best (samma in Pali and samyak in Sanskrit) comprehension or insight, followed by (2) our very best resolution or determination, (3) our very best enunciation or definition (of our intention), (4) our very best disposition or attitude, (5) our very best implementation or realization, (6) our very best effort or commitment, (7) our very best observation, reflection or evaluation and self-correction, and (8) our very best meditation or concentration towards an increasingly real experience of samadhi, which brings us to (1) a yet better comprehension or insight, and so forth. Feel free to share this post. Please take care of yourself and others in these challenging times! Follow the official guidelines, particularly those concerning social distancing!

Advayavada Study Plan – week 17

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 17] Non-liberated human beings are essentially prone to existential suffering (see week 16) because they wrongly strive after and try to hold on to things, concepts and situations which they believe to be permanent, but are not. Their mistaken view of things is produced by a thirst, craving or clinging (tanha in Pali, trishna in Sanskrit) which is in turn caused by their fundamental ignorance (avijja in Pali, avidya in Sanskrit) or disbelief of the true nature of existence, particularly the impermanence and changeability of everything (see week 14) and the selflessness and emptiness (and, therefore, finitude) of all things and beings (see week 15). That thirst, craving or clinging, which is the second of the Buddha’s four noble truths or four truths for the noble ones (catur ariyasacca in Pali, catur aryasatya in Sanskrit), blinds them to the actual wonders and blessings of overall existence and can moreover easily take on a more unwholesome form: already as sensuous desire, ill-will (vyapada, also byapada), laziness, impatience or distrust will it seriously hinder the individual’s efforts to better his or her circumstances, as well as contaminate the efforts of others to improve theirs. Advayavada Buddhism, on its part, invites us all to instead intelligently make the very best of our own lives by attuning as best as possible with actual wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction. We do this by adhering to the five basic precepts (not to kill, not to steal, sexual restraint, not to lie, and refraining from alcohol and drugs) and conscientiously following our personalized Noble Eightfold Path. Feel free to share this post. Please take care of yourself and others in these challenging times! Follow the official guidelines, particularly those concerning social distancing!

Advayavada Study Plan – week 16

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 16] As already asserted, in Advayavada Buddhism the Path reflects the Whole and does not tell you what to do or believe. The purpose of this ongoing and 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 third preliminary subject of the ASP is dukkha (Pali) or duhkha (Sanskrit) which means suffering, sorrow, dissatisfaction, frustration, anxiety, or stress; it is the first of the four noble truths (or four truths for the noble) of Buddhism and also the third of the three or, in Advayavada Buddhism, four signs or marks or basic facts of being, 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 (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, and 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.

Advayavada Buddhism, on its part, invites us all (also in the present very challenging stretch of time, with its special requirements, like the all-important social distancing) to instead intelligently make the very best of our own short lives by attuning as best as possible with actual wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction. We do this by conscientiously following our personalized Noble Eightfold Path. Feel free to share this post.

Advayavada Buddhism Explained

question You speak of progress but make little mention of evolution. Is the Fourth Sign of Being you speak of not evolution?

answer Evolution is an ontological fact and progress is an epistemological concept. What we say in Advayavada Buddhism is that human beings experience as progress what accords with the overall course of Nature, and that, because we experience the Noble Eightfold Path as progress, we then know that it accords with the course of Nature, which is rooted in the underlying fact of evolution; in a way, Advayavada Buddhism is a, or maybe, the Buddhist face of the global evolutionary movement.

question Is Advayavada Buddhism, then, a kind of cosmodicy?

answer The cosmodicy meant by Caroline Rhys Davids when she coined the term in the early 20th century would imply that existence as such is ‘good’. This is not what we say. What we believe and teach is that what we human beings experience as good and wholesome, indeed as progress, is that which agrees with the otherwise neutral overall nature of existence. Good and bad are exclusively human concepts which you cannot apply to existence as a whole – the wood is completely silent and only sentient beings hear the falling tree!

question I wonder what your support for this interpretation of humans experiencing Nature as progress might be. There’s abundant evidence in media of various sorts — good, bad, or indifferent in quality — of people who contrarily do not experience the overall course of Nature as progressive at all, but instead as destructive and teleologically negative, especially today in conditions of global warming, cyclones, tornados, earthquakes, oceans rising, meteorites, and so on.

answer If you look closely, all those unpleasantnesses you mention do not pertain to wondrous overall existence but are the result of mistaken views, immorality and mismanagement. When we say how man experiences the neutral course of Nature we of course mean man unencumbered by these contingent shortcomings and mistakes that impair his vision and understanding of things – the reference standard is wondrous overall existence and not failing mankind.

The ultimate purpose of Advayavada Buddhism is to help lift the prevailing disparity or mismatch between humanity and existence; humanity as it is is deeply alienated from its habitat and the more so from the underlying evolutionary process.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 15

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 15] As already asserted, in Advayavada Buddhism the Path reflects the Whole and 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 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), which is based on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose and the second preliminary subject of this second 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 14), the ubiquity of existential suffering (see next week, week 16), and evolution or, in human terms, progress (see week 17). Feel free to share this post. Please take care of yourself and others in these challenging times! Follow the official guidelines, particularly those concerning social distancing!

Adayavada Study Plan – week 14

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 14] 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 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), which is based on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, is repeated four times a year for this lofty purpose and the first preliminary subject of this second quarter is again 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 participate and are subject to, as is particularly evident in the present challenging times). Feel free to share this post.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 13

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 13] As already explained, 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, by means of our personalized Noble Eightfold Path, with wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction. The purpose of this ongoing 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 1 to 5 we again treated the preliminary subjects; in week 6 we again honestly took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation 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 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 8, in order to lay a strong foundation for achieving our goal, we again privately verbalized our feelings and intentions and committed our decision and improved objective to paper as precisely as possible (third step); in week 9 we further developed our very best attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step); in week 10 we implemented our improved way of doing things to the very best of our ability (fifth step); in week 11 we concentrated on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective (sixth step); in week 12 we again made 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 (seventh step), and, to conclude this first 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. Please take care of yourself and others in these challenging times!

*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.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 12

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 12] As already explained, 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, by means of our personalized Noble Eightfold Path, with wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction. The purpose of this ongoing 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 1 to 5 we again treated the preliminary subjects; in week 6 we again honestly took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation 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 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 8, in order to lay a strong foundation for achieving our goal, we again privately verbalized our feelings and intentions and committed our decision and improved objective to paper as precisely as possible (third step); in week 9 we further developed our very best attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step); in week 10 we implemented our improved way of doing things to the very best of our ability (fifth step); in week 11 we concentrated on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective (sixth step), and, to continue with this first quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, throughout this week, week 12, 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). Next week, week 13, 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 (the eighth step on the Noble Eightfold Path). Feel free to share this post. We wish you all the best in these disturbing times.

We Don’t Understand Ourselves — Great Middle Way

From the Buddhist point of view our suffering originates from the limitations of our ordinary, unenlightened mind. Firstly, we are unaware of the basic truths of existence. Through ignorance, we have misunderstood our true nature and the nature of reality. Secondly, confused and easily agitated, we are unable to control our minds. We do not […]

via We Don’t Understand Ourselves — Great Middle Way