Advayavada Study Plan – week 13

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 13] 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; cf. conatus), 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 weeks 1 to 5 we again treated the preliminary subjects; in week 6 we again honestly reviewed and 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 truly commendable individual initiatives are those which are in agreement with 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 committed our decision and improved objective to paper as precisely as possible (third step); in week 9, we further cultivated and developed our very best attitude and commitment to be able to improve our way of life as we aspire, in our quest to become a true part of the wondrous whole (fourth step), in week 10 we implemented our improved modus operandi as best as possible (fifth step), during 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;

and, to conclude this first quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, throughout this week, week 13, 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 Buddha’s 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).

*Samadhi (Pali and Sanskrit): literally means a.o. “putting together, joining, combining with, union, harmonious whole, trance” and “concentration of the thoughts, profound or abstract meditation, intense contemplation of any particular object” [Monier Williams], and consider further: 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.

Friends, this 13-week ASP is repeated four times a year and the first preliminary subject of the second quarter will again be 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). 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 and of conspiracy theories generally. 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 and has a handy search box at the bottom of each page.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 12

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 12] 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; cf. conatus), 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 weeks 1 to 5 we again treated the preliminary subjects; in week 6 we again honestly reviewed and 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 truly commendable individual initiatives are those which are in agreement with 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 committed our decision and improved objective to paper as precisely as possible (third step); in week 9, we further cultivated and developed our very best attitude and commitment to be able to improve our way of life as we aspire, in our quest to become a true part of the wondrous whole (fourth step), and in week 10 we implemented our improved modus operandi as best as possible (fifth step), and during week 11 we concentrated on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective (sixth step).

To continue with this first quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, during 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 seventh step on the Buddha’s 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).

During 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 the sublime state of Samadhi and our awareness of Nirvana.

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 and of conspiracy theories generally. 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 and has a handy search box at the bottom of each page.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 11

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 11] 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; cf. conatus), 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 weeks 1 to 5 we again treated the preliminary subjects; in week 6 we again honestly reviewed and 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 truly commendable individual initiatives are those which are in agreement with 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 committed our decision and improved objective to paper as precisely as possible (third step); in week 9, we further cultivated and developed our very best attitude and commitment to be able to improve our way of life as we aspire, in our quest to become a true part of the wondrous whole (fourth step), and in week 49 we implemented our improved modus operandi as best as possible (fifth step).

To continue with this first quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, during this week, week 11, 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.

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 and of conspiracy theories generally. 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 and has a handy search box at the bottom of each page.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 10

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 10] 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; cf. conatus), 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 weeks 1 to 5 we again treated the preliminary subjects; in week 6 we again honestly reviewed and 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 truly commendable individual initiatives are those which are in agreement with 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 committed our decision and improved objective to paper as precisely as possible (third step); in week 9, we further cultivated and developed our very best attitude and commitment to be able to improve our way of life as we aspire, in our quest to become a true part of the wondrous whole (fourth step).

To continue with this first quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), during this week, week 10, we shall implement our improved modus operandi as best as possible. This task is based on the 5th step on the Noble 8fold Path: samma-ajiva (in Pali) or samyag-ajiva (in Sanskrit); in Advayavada Buddhism’s personalized usage: our very best implementation, realization or putting into practice; in Dutch: onze beste uitvoering (vijfde 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 vaccines and of conspiracy theories generally. 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 and has a handy search box at the bottom of each page.

Grens der zedelijkheid (Bierens)

Toch is het zedelijk karakter niet de gehele inhoud van de mensengeest. Het zedelijke houdt verband met andere provincies van de geest. Er is ook schoonheidszin en religie, terwijl de theoretische rede de grond van alle uitmaakt. Het ware, dat als het goede onze strevende natuur [conatus] vóórlicht, heeft ook in het schone zijn uitdrukking en verenigt alle in het heilige. De zedelijkheid vervult d…us de mensengeest slechts ten dele en tot een grens. De grens begrenst op tweeërlei wijze, door het einde aan te wijzen waaroverheen het niet geldt en tevens het andere aan te duiden als zijn aanvulling: de grens wijst terug en wijst verder. Dat het zedelijke een begrensde geestelijkheid is, die wel een provincie, maar niet het gehele ‘rijk van de geest’ inneemt, houdt in dat de zedelijkheid geen volle menselijkheid is, en het zedelijk bewustzijn geen volledige uitdrukking van ons redelijk wezen. Het zedelijk karakter is geen volle menselijkheid. Deze uitspraak te overwegen zal ons geleiden uit dit tweede gedeelte van onze geestesleer [het eerste gedeelte van dit boek betrof de rede] tot het derde dat de schoonheidszin betreft.

Het geestesleven is voor de mens de erkenning en beleving van het Universum. Niet het gedeeltelijke maar het Geheel voldoet ons, niet de veelheid maar de Eenheid. Onze ziel is onrustig, zegt Augustinus, tot zij rust vindt in God. Ware het Geheel de som aller dingen, dan zou het menselijke verlangen niet te bevredigen zijn, maar het Geheel is de [ene] orde aller dingen, waarin wijzelf leven. De Eenheid is het Wezen dat ook in ons het wezen is. Zoals een cirkel betrokken is op zijn middelpunt en elk van de omtrekpunten met het middelpunt verband houdt.

In de zedelijkheid nu wordt het Universum slechts ten dele beleefd. Want de Idee, die de eenheid der wereld is, is in de mens als idee der persoonlijkheid aanwezig en wordt als zodanig in de zedelijkheid erkend en beleefd. Het Universum echter is het Goddelijk Wezen en omvat in zijn overpersoonlijkheid [zijn totale wezen] zowel de onpersoonlijke natuur als de persoonlijke geestelijke waarde, en, hoewel de laatste de belangrijkste van de twee is (zoals een denkend mens meer is dan een mineraal, al heet dit mineraal ook zon of melkweg) ligt hierin opgesloten dat ook het onpersoonlijke een aspect van de Idee is. Daarom kan de mensengeest niet in de zedelijkheid zijn vervulling vinden, maar, op de beleving van de Idee aangelegd, behoeft hij een aanvulling in de schoonheidszin. (uit Grens der zedelijkheid, in Menschengeest, door Dr. J.D. Bierens de Haan, Amsterdam 1926, p.229-230, hertaald door John Willemsens, Amsterdam 2014)

Ideaal der volkomen persoonlijkheid (Bierens)

De volkomen persoonlijkheid is de volkomen uitdrukking van de idee der persoonlijkheid, waarin tweeërlei ligt opgesloten de eenheid van het innerlijk wezen én de overeenstemming met het Universum. De eenheid van het innerlijk wezen is de eenheid van onze grond, d.i. de Idee in ons, uitgedrukt in ons zijn als persoon, d.i. in onze strevende natuur. De mens is Idee, die wordt tot levensdrang [conatu…s]; hij is Idee en de keerzijde van de Idee, ideële en zinnelijke natuur, geest en beest. Deze tweeheid is in eerste aanleg tegenstrijdigheid, waarbij, naar de uitspraak van Paulus ‘het vlees getuigt tegen de geest’. De normeloze zinnelijke natuur stemt niet overeen met de normbewuste idealiteit. De volkomen persoonlijkheid is nu het opgeheven zijn van deze tegenstrijdigheid, waarbij de impulsiviteit der zinnelijke natuur in overeenstemming is met de Idee in ons, en de eenheid van het innerlijk wezen is verworven. Deze staat van eenheid heet ook zedelijke vrijheid en wordt door Spinoza in het beeld van de homo liber getekend. De libertas humana is de voltooiing van het zedelijk leven. De term ‘vrijheid’ betekent in het bijzonder de overwinning over de zinnelijkheid. Vrijheid is attribuut van de volkomen persoonlijkheid. Deze gesteldheid licht als ideaal het zedelijk bewustzijn vóór. Zij is volkomen ‘persoonlijkheid’ omdat de niet-overeenstemmende zinnelijke natuur het onpersoonlijke is, en de mens, zolang zijn levensdrang niet in de Idee is hersteld, het onpersoonlijke der zinnelijke natuur in zich koestert. Eerst de zuivering van het onpersoonlijke maakt zijn persoonlijkheid vol. Ten volle persoonlijkheid zijn, de ongebrokenheid en onverdeeldheid van het persoonlijke te zijn, het geheel-zijn der persoonlijkheid is het zedelijk ideaal.

In deze idee des ideaals is het zedelijk goede overschreden, omdat de tegenstelling tussen geestelijkheid en zinnelijkheid, de spanning tussen deze, is opgeheven. In het ideaal is de overwinning, waarin de gerechtigheid bestaat, voorbij, daar ze de tweeheid insluit. Vandaar dat men stelt: ideaal, eindpunt.

In het ideaal der volkomen persoonlijkheid ligt ten tweede opgesloten de overeenstemming van mens en Universum. Daardoor immers was de idee des ideaals de afsluitende idee van het zedelijk bewustzijn, omdat daarin de eenheid van de mensen met het hoger-Algemene, de oneindige Geest, wordt vooruitgezien. Het geheel-zijn der persoonlijkheid is uitdrukking van het geheel zijn van het Al. Geheel zijn wij door opheffing van de tegenstelling van geest en zinnen, gelijk het Universum een geheel is doordat Idee en natuur niet twee heterogene machten zijn, maar de natuur deel uitmaakt van het proces der Idee en in de eenheid van het geheel is opgenomen.

Dat het zedelijke bewustzijn in het ideaal van de volkomen persoonlijkheid de overeenstemming met het Universum meedenkt, is vanwege de theoretische grondslag van de praktische rede. De praktische rede is een aanwending van het theoretische voor het streven en houdt dus impliciet de inhoud-in-het-algemeen van ons theoretisch bewustzijn in zich besloten. Zij veronderstelt wereldbeschouwing en wordt door deze gemotiveerd. Dát wij zedelijkheid hebben hangt niet los in de lucht en steunt evenmin op de onredelijkheid der conventie, maar is redelijk gegrond, en ons praktisch bewustzijn, dat geen redelijke gronden behoeft aan te voeren omdat het praktisch en geen theoretisch bewustzijn is, weet zich in dit opzicht nochtans bij de theoretische rede goed geborgen en veilig. Zo dan blijkt de theoretische achtergrond van het zedelijke hierin, dat in de ideaalvoorstelling de overeenstemming met het wereldwezen is meegedacht. Plato’s zedenleer drukt deze waarheid uit door de theosis als levensdoel voor te stellen, de vergoding, waarin het menselijke naar het goddelijke is vergeestelijkt. (uit Ideaal der volkomen persoonlijkheid, in Menschengeest, door Dr. J.D. Bierens de Haan, Amsterdam 1926, p.159-161, hertaald door John Willemsens, Amsterdam 2014)