The purpose of Advayavada Buddhism is to become a true part of the whole.
Our quest 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) and a well-considered understanding of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs of being and the Buddha’s four noble truths, which were the subjects of weeks 1 to 5, suffice to start off on this Path at any time.
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 indeed attuning as best as possible with wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction. The Advayavada Study Plan (ASP) is repeated four times a year.
The purpose of the autonomous 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, such as our health, relationships, work, study, our place in society, etc.
(My own specific personal objective this quarter is to observe and interpret as closely as possible the workings in my own life of pratityasamutpada, i.e. the process of universal relativity or interdependent origination, understood as in Madhyamaka, where ‘all causes are effects and all effects are causes’, and karma, understood as the everchanging knotlet of biopsychosocial events in which I am personally embedded – what’s yours?)
In week 6 we reviewed and took stock of our personal situation and circumstances, in week 7 we took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course, in week 8 we put our decision and objective in writing as precisely as possible, and, to continue this weekly series, in week 9 we further develop our very best attitude to carry out our improved personal objective.
This task is based on the 4th step on the Noble 8fold Path: samma-kammanta (in Pali) or samyak-karmanta (in Sanskrit); in Advayavada Buddhism’s usage: our very best disposition or attitude; in Dutch: onze beste instelling (de vierde stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). To follow this ASP conscientiously is of course already proof of a serious and positive attitude.
Nirvana is, in Advayavada Buddhism, the total extinction of our existential suffering as a result of our complete reconciliation and harmonization with reality as it truly is beyond our commonly limited and biased personal experience of it; the unremitting persistency of human distress, alienation and conflict is essentially due to the very many not knowing or not understanding or simply disbelieving the true nature of existence.
Other translations of the 4th step are: right behaviour (Arnold), right conduct (Burt, Conze, Eliot, Malalasekera, Rhys Davids), right action (Bahm, Bodhi, Ch’en, David-Neel, Fernando, Gethin, Guenther, Harvey, Horner, Humphreys, Keown, Khemo, Kornfield, Narada, Narasu, Nyanatiloka, Rahula, Saddhatissa, St Ruth, Stroup, Takakusu, Warder, Watts), appropriate action (Batchelor), right actions (Dhammananda, Dharmapala), right acting (Grimm); proper behaviour (Edwardes); correct action (Kloppenborg, Scheepers); the right deed (Melamed).