Advayavada Study Plan – week 6

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 6] 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 and, to continue with this first quarter of 2021, this week, week 6, we shall again honestly take stock of and responsibility for our personal situation and expectations right now. 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).

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 several approved vaccines. 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.

Spinoza: the first philosopher of the rational Enlightenment? — The Slow Tachyon

For the radical thinkers of the Enlightenment, he was the first man to have lived and died as a true atheist. For others, including the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he provides perhaps the most profound conception of God to be found in Western philosophy. He was bold enough to defy the thinking of his […]

Spinoza: the first philosopher of the rational Enlightenment? — The Slow Tachyon

Advayavada Study Plan – week 5

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 5] In Secular Buddhism generally, firmly bearing in mind the impermanence and changeability of everything (see week 1) and the selflessness and emptiness (and, therefore, finitude) of all things and beings (see week 2), 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’ (catur ariyasacca in Pali, catur aryasatya in Sanskrit).

The first of these truths is that of the ubiquity of existential suffering in the world (see week 3); the second truth is that ignorant craving and attachment are the actual and immediate causes of such suffering and the third truth is that this suffering shall cease altogether when we deal with and overcome its causes (see week 4); the fourth truth is that the sure way to achieve this is by following the Noble Eightfold Path.

Now, 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; our reference standard is wondrous overall existence becoming over time and not misguided and failing mankind, not ‘this shallow, short-sighted culture that we have created’ (Laudato Si). That evolution or progress is recognized in Advayavada Buddhism as the obvious but nevertheless long overlooked fourth sign or mark or basic fact of being (caturtha lakshana).

Our thus personalized Path (to be highlighted in the coming weeks) 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 a yet better comprehension or insight (1), and so forth.

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 different vaccines. 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. See also our comprehensive website advayavada dot org for more information about the Advayavada understanding of Buddhism.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 4

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 4] Non-liberated human beings are essentially prone to existential suffering (see last week, week 3) 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 1) and the selflessness and emptiness (and, therefore, the finitude) of all things and beings (see week 2).

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 is, above all, not seen as a permanent or inevitable feature of reality; it is, as explained, 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, as they understand it, does not conform to their petty desires and mistaken expectations.

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 becoming over time now in its manifest direction – this evolution or progress is seen in Advayavada Buddhism as the fourth sign or mark or basic fact of being (caturtha lakshana). We seek to become a true part of the wondrous whole 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 by conscientiously following our personalized Noble Eightfold Path.

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 different vaccines. 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. See also our comprehensive website advayavada dot org for more information about the Advayavada understanding of Buddhism.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 3

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 3] 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 1), the selflessness and emptiness of all things (see week 2), and evolution or, in human terms, progress (see next week, week 4).

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 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 the persistent irrational taboo of not admitting to alcohol abuse by ourselves or those close to us. Can one beat alcoholism? One can certainly fully neutralize alcohol addiction by stopping to drink alcoholic beverages altogether, one day at the time, with the help of (a) your GP, (b) a personal psychological coach or counsellor, and (c) by joining a reputable support group to help you develop the necessary emotional counterpunch. This ASP provides an appropriate overall training to overcome the harm caused by that 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 different vaccines. 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. See also our comprehensive website advayavada dot org for more information about the Advayavada understanding of Buddhism.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 2

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 2] 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 last week the first preliminary subject of this first quarter of the new year was 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 (lakshanas); the Buddhist aniccata or anityata doctrine teaches that impermanence or changeability is the most fundamental property of everything existing.

The second preliminary subject of this first quarter is again this week 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 (lakshanas). The Buddhist anatta or anatmata doctrine teaches that no immutable and immortal 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 all things without exception are produced by interdependent origination (pratityasamutpada, all-conditionality), indeed all are, in fact, 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, finitude] of all things is one of the four signs or marks or basic facts of being (lakshana), the other three being the impermanence or changeability of everything (see last week, week 1), the ubiquity of existential suffering (see next week, week 3), and evolution or, in human terms, progress (see week 4).

Please take care of yourself and others and follow the official pandemic guidelines, particularly those concerning social distancing and where and when to use a mask! 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 join our research network on Facebook.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 1

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 1] In Advayavada Buddhism, the Noble Eightfold Path is 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), a well-considered understanding of the Buddha’s four noble truths (or four truths for the noble), and of the four signs or marks or basic facts of being (in Advayavada Buddhism, evolution or, in human terms, progress, is the fourth sign or caturtha lakshana), 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 autonomous and open-ended 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, favourably and unfavourably, such as our health, relationships, study, work, social environment and circumstances, etc.

The first preliminary subject of this first quarter of 2021 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 (lakshana). 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, progress and liberation, or, indeed, to become a true part of the whole, would not be possible without it.

Karma is, in Advayavada Buddhism, the above incessant universal process of interdependent origination (relativity, 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 these challenging times).

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. 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 join our research network on Facebook. Happy New Year!

Advayavada Study Plan – recap of the 4th quarter

[Advayavada Study Plan – a recap of the fourth quarter] In Advayavada Buddhism, the Noble Eightfold Path is 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), a well-considered understanding of the Buddha’s four noble truths (or four truths for the noble), and of the four signs or marks or basic facts of being (in Advayavada Buddhism, evolution or, in human terms, progress, is the fourth sign or caturtha lakshana), 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 autonomous and open-ended 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, favourably and unfavourably, such as our health, relationships, study, work, social environment and circumstances, etc.

In the fourth quarter of 2020 we treated the preliminary subjects in weeks 40 to 44; in week 45 we honestly took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation at this time (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path); in week 46 we 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, in order to lay a strong foundation for achieving our goal, we 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, in our quest to become a true part of the wondrous whole (fourth step); in week 49 we put our improved way of doing things into practice 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); in week 51, 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 the fourth quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, throughout weeks 52 and 53, we continued to develop and deepen our very best meditation towards Samadhi and our awareness of Nirvana (last step on the Noble Eightfold Path).

As stated, this 13-week ASP can conveniently be repeated four times a year and the first preliminary subject of the first quarter of the new year will again be next week 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 (lakshana).

We wish to thank you all for following and sharing our ASP over the past months and years. The year 2020 has been a tough one and we must not lower our guard yet. Herd immunity must still be built up everywhere by means of world-wide vaccination. Continue to take good 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. 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 join our research network on Facebook. Happy New Year!

‘Requiem for a Faith’ Huston Smith

Buddhism now

Requiem for a Faith.Film: Requiem for a Faith, shot in the late 1960s examines the customs and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Though dated, it stands the test of time.

Huston Smith the religious philosopher and author (The World’s Religions), provides a very moving and insightful narration.

He explains the tenets of Tibets unique brand of Buddhism, while noted spiritual filmmaker Elda Hartley provides astonishing footage.

About 27 minutes.

Requiem for a FaithOriginally produced and distributed by the Hartley Film Foundation. In a country where one-sixth of the males become monks, all things are religious in Tibet, according to narrator Huston Smith. The religious philosopher and author (The World’s Religions) explains the tenets of the Tibetan’s unique brand of Buddhism, while noted spiritual filmmaker Elda Hartley provides astonishing footage of monks engaged in discussions with dance-like movement, the faithful making strings of prayer flags and artisans carving prayer blocks and ceremonial masks. Smith’s prose ranges from poetic…

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