Advayavada Study Plan – week 43

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 43] Non-liberated human beings are essentially prone to existential suffering (see last week, week 42) 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 40) and the selflessness and emptiness (and, therefore, the finitude) of all things and beings (see week 41).

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, as they understand it, reality 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 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.

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 on, for instance, advayavadabuddhism dot org

The Aim of Advayavada Buddhism

Advayavada Buddhism is a secular, non-dual and life-affirming philosophy and way of life derived from Nagarjuna’s Madhyamaka, or philosophy of the Middle Way. The most important tenet of Advayavada Buddhism is that there is a fourth sign (or mark) of being implicit in the Buddha’s teaching, namely that, expressed purely in terms of human perception and experience, reality is sequential and dynamic in the sense of forever advancing for the better; what human beings experience and identify as good, right or beneficial, indeed as progress, is, in fact, that which takes place in the otherwise indifferent direction that overall existence flows in of its own accord.

To understand this important tenet, one should first come to realize most deeply, for instance through meditation on the incontestable non-duality of the world, that not the human manifestation of life (i.e. its ongoing process of re-combination, mutation, concatenate multiplication and disintegration of the expended units, and its vicissitudes and perils, even possible extinction, self-inflicted or not) is the measure of things in space and time, but that it is the whole of infinite interdependent reality itself, which, hardly affected, if at all, by the negligible impact of mankind’s doings on the overall scheme of things, will continue to become exactly as it, by definition, must.

It then becomes very clear to us that the Middle Way taught by the Buddha as the correct existential attitude is not meant to in the least deviate from the Dharma of the whole; that the objective of the Middle Way is, in fact, to reconnect and reconcile us with wondrous overall existence; and that the Middle Way in its dynamic Noble Eightfold Path mode must indeed be seen as an ongoing reflexion at the level of our personal lives of wondrous overall existence becoming over time in its manifest direction. Now, as the Eightfold Path takes us forward for the better and better, it follows, inductively if you will, that, in human terms, existence as a whole becomes over time for the better and better as well. Inversely, we experience as good, right or wholesome those events which are in agreement with the overall otherwise indifferent pattern and direction of existence – it is for this reason that they are experienced thus; this fact is, indeed, the fourth sign or mark of being we speak of.

The purpose of Buddhism is then, obviously, not to shun life as many choose to believe, but, on the contrary, to return mankind to the fold of wondrous overall existence and to delight in it. Buddhism must be understood correctly as a ‘way of reconciliation’ with the whole of existence just right as it is, i.e. as it truly is beyond our commonly limited and biased personal experience of it. The aim of Advayavada Buddhism is to help us understand this main purpose of Buddhism more clearly and to give us individually the necessary tools to become a true part of the whole, here and now.

© advayavadabuddhism.org, Amsterdam 2020.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 30

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 30] Non-liberated human beings are essentially prone to existential suffering (see week 29) 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 27) and the selflessness and emptiness (and, therefore, finitude) of all things and beings (see week 28). 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. 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 and where and when to use a mask!

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

Advayavada Study Plan – week 31

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 31] In Secular Buddhism generally, firmly bearing in mind the impermanence and changeability of everything (see week 27) and the selflessness and emptiness (and, therefore, finitude) of all things and beings (see week 28), 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’: first truth: that of the ubiquity of existential suffering in the world (see week 29); second truth: that ignorant craving and attachment are the actual and immediate causes of such suffering (see week 30); third truth: that this suffering shall cease altogether when we deal with and overcome its causes; and, fourth truth: that the sure way to achieve this is by following the Noble Eightfold Path, which, in Advayavada Buddhism, 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 being, then, the fourth sign or mark or basic fact of being. Our 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.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 5

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 5] In Secular Buddhism generally, firmly bearing in mind the impermanence of everything and the selflessness and emptiness (and, therefore, finitude) of all things, the focus is on the correct interpretation and realization of the historical Buddha’s so-called ‘four noble truths’: 1) that of the ubiquity of existential suffering in the world, 2) that ignorant craving and attachment are the actual and immediate causes of such suffering, 3) that this suffering shall cease altogether when we deal with and overcome its causes, and 4) that the sure way to achieve this is by following the Noble Eightfold Path, which, in Advayavada Buddhism, 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 being, then, the fourth sign or mark or basic fact of being. It 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.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 31

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 31] In Secular Buddhism generally, firmly bearing in mind the impermanence of everything and the selflessness and emptiness, and, therefore, finitude of all things, the focus is on the correct application of the historical Buddha’s so-called ‘four noble truths’: 1) that of the ubiquity of existential suffering in the world, 2) that ignorant craving and attachment are the actual and immediate causes of such suffering, 3) that this suffering shall cease altogether when we deal with and overcome its causes, and 4) that the sure way to achieve this is by following the Noble Eightfold Path, which, in Advayavada Buddhism, 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 being, then, the fourth sign or mark or basic fact of being. The Path, as understood in Advayavada Buddhism, is composed stepwise of (1) our very best 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.

Advayavada Study Plan – week 18

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 18] In Secular Buddhism generally, firmly bearing in mind the impermanence of everything and the selflessness and emptiness, and, therefore, finitude of all things, the focus is on the correct application of the historical Buddha’s so-called ‘four noble truths’: 1) that of the ubiquity of existential suffering in the world, 2) that ignorant craving and attachment are the actual and immediate causes of such suffering, 3) that this suffering shall cease altogether when we deal with and overcome its causes, and 4) that the sure way to achieve this is by following the Noble Eightfold Path, which, in Advayavada Buddhism, 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 being, then, the fourth sign or mark or basic fact of being. The Path, as understood in Advayavada Buddhism, is composed stepwise of (1) our very best 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.