Advayavada Study Plan – week 20 (2220) – samyak-samkalpa

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, by means of the Noble Eightfold Path, with wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction; we seek to become a true part of the whole in this way and our reference standard is wondrous overall existence and not misguided and failing mankind.

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 and of the, in Advayavada Buddhism, four signs or marks or basic facts of being (lakshanas), suffice to start off and proceed on the Noble Eightfold Path at any time.

Evolution or, in human terms, our natural impulse or drive to thrive and advance, is recognized, in Advayavada Buddhism, as the fourth sign of being or catuttha lakkhana in Pali and caturtha lakshana in Sanskrit (cf. conatus, élan vital, homeostasis). To follow the personalized Noble Eightfold Path is our way of responding to it and 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 in a calendar year, 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 and responsibilities, work, study, physical (including climate change) and social environment and circumstances, etc.

In weeks 14 to 18 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 19 we again honestly took stock of and responsibility for our personal situation and expectations at this time in our rapidly changing world (1st step on the Path) and, to continue with this first quarter’s ASP, this week, week 20, we shall again take an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course if necessary, bearing in mind that truly commendable initiatives are those which are in agreement with and reflect wondrous overall existence advancing over time and take us forward at the fundamental level of our personal life. This task is based on the 2nd step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-sankappa (Pali) or samyak-samkalpa (Sanskrit), in Advayavada Buddhism: our very best resolution or determination; in Dutch: onze beste beslissing (de tweede stap op het edele achtvoudige pad).

Please take care of yourself and others by following the official pandemic guidelines, where yet necessary. Feel free to share this post: these systematic teachings are beneficial for anyone (also non-Buddhists) and those interested can then follow this weekly ASP themselves on, for instance, advayavadabuddhism dot org and/or by joining our research network on Facebook. Our earlier but recently updated website advayavada dot org contains comprehensive information about our secular, non-dual and life-affirming understanding of Buddhism and has a handy search box at the bottom of each page.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to weigh heavily on our minds and hearts (see facebook dot com/advayavadastichting).

Advayavada Study Plan – week 37

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 37] 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, by means 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 failing mankind. The purpose of this autonomous Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), which is repeated four times a year, is that we study and debate the meaning and implications of the weekly subject 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, environment and circumstances, etc. In weeks 27 to 31 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 32 we again honestly took stock of, and responsibility for, our personal situation at this time (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path), in week 33 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course (second step), in week 34 we again put our decision and improved objective in writing as precisely as possible (third step), in week 35 we further developed our very best attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step), in week 36 we implemented our improved way of doing things (fifth step), and, to continue with this third quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, this week, week 37, 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 in these challenging times! Follow the official guidelines, particularly those concerning social distancing and where and when to use a mask! Feel free to share this post: those interested can follow this weekly ASP on, for instance, advayavadabuddhism dot org

Advayavada Study Plan – week 36

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 36] 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, by means 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 failing mankind. The purpose of this 13-week Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), which is repeated four times a year, 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, our environment and circumstances, etc. In weeks 27 to 31 we reappraised the preliminary subjects; in week 32 we again took stock of and responsibility for our personal situation at this time (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path); in week 33 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course bearing in mind that commendable reforms and initiatives are those which are in agreement with and reflect wondrous overall existence advancing over time and take us forward at the fundamental level of our life (second step); in week 34, in order to lay a strong foundation for achieving our goal, we again privately put our decision and improved objective in writing as precisely as possible (third step); in week 35 we further cultivated and developed our very best attitude and commitment to improve our way of life as we aspire to (fourth step); and, to continue with this third quarter’s Advayavada Study Plan (ASP), this week, week 36, 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 in these challenging times! Follow the official guidelines, particularly those concerning social distancing and where and when to use a mask! Feel free to share this post: those interested can follow this weekly ASP on a.o. 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.