[Advayavada Study Plan – week 18] 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.
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’ (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 16); the second truth is that ignorant craving and attachment are the actual and immediate causes of such suffering (see last week, week 17); the third truth is that this suffering shall cease altogether when we deal with and overcome its causes (also week 17); and 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 personal progressive insight, reflecting in our own terms wondrous overall existence becoming over time in its manifest direction; our reference standard is, as stated above, wondrous overall existence becoming over time and not misguided and failing mankind, not ‘this shallow, short-sighted culture that we have created’ (Laudato Si), and that evolution or progress is recognized in Advayavada Buddhism as the fourth sign or mark or basic fact of being (the caturtha lakshana, cf. conatus).
Our thus personalized Eightfold 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 vaccines and of conspiracy theories generally – herd immunity is a must. 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.