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.