Advayavada Buddhism

ON COURSE WITH NATURE.

Archive for the month “March, 2015”

Advayavada Study Plan – week 14

Dear friends,

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 are the subjects of weeks 14 to 18, 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 new quarter is to improve my understanding of the practice of meditation (dhyana in Sanskrit, jhana in Pali) whose purpose is to attain a deeper concentration of the mind (Samadhi in Sanskrit and Pali), but without becoming preoccupied, however, with a factually non-existent self (svabhava-shunyata, lit. self-nature emptiness, is a central notion in Madhyamaka philosophy) – what is your specific objective this quarter?)

To commence this new 13-week plan of action, in week 14 we again observe and study the impermanence or changeability of all things as thoroughly as we can; in Dutch: de veranderlijkheid van alles (het eerste kenmerk van het bestaan).

This task is based on the Buddhist aniccata (Pali) or anityata (Sanskrit) doctrine. Anicca or anitya means impermanent, changeable, unstable, transitory, and is the first of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs or marks or basic facts of being: that which arises, dwells, and passes away. Impermanence or changeability is the most fundamental property of everything existing: it lies at the heart of the interdependent origination and emptiness of all things, and progress and liberation would not be possible without it.

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.

Feel free to share these ASP instalments.

Kind regards,
John Willemsens,
Advayavada Foundation.
@advayavada

Zensanity

Global Buddhism Blog

In the context of the JGB’s just-released issue on Zen and Popular Culture, it’s worth mentioning Buddhism scholar Megan Bryson’s excellent and extensive blog Zensanity, which focuses on the way the “Zen brand” is used in the marketing of various commodities. As Megan herself writes, the purpose of her blog

is not to mock products with Zen labels, or demarcate authentic vs. inauthentic forms of Zen, but to catalogue the vast array of such products and examine what they say about (primarily American) understandings of Zen.

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JGB 2015 volume is online, with all new website

Global Buddhism Blog

I’m very happy to announce that the 2015 volume of the JGB is now online. Even more exciting (in my view), we have launched a brand new website making use of the Open Journal System. This is a major upgrade from our old website, which had been basically unchanged since the year 2000. With the OJS, we now have an attractive new design as well as a lot of new functionality and features. I encourage everyone to have a look at the new site.

We have begun the 2015 volume with a special focus section on “Zen and Popular Culture”. Soon we will also be publishing a second special focus on the subject of “The Family and Buddhism”. Watch this space.

Here is the current ToC.

Introduction: Zen and Popular Culture
INKEN PROHL, TIM GRAF
33-36
ELISABETTA PORCU
37-50

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Appreciation of Nature and the Outdoors

Photo Nature Blog

I recently created this video showing some of the work I’ve done. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

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Like a handful of fallen leaves, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Buddhism now

New Oak leavesThe Buddha refused to have any dealing with those things which don’t lead to the extinction of Dukkha. Take the question of whether or not there is rebirth. What is reborn? How is it reborn? What is its kammic in­herit­ance? These questions are not aimed at the extinction of Dukkha. That being so they are not Buddhist teaching and they are not connected with it. They do not lie in the sphere of Buddhism. Also, the one who asks about such matters has no choice but to indis­­criminately believe the answer he’s given, because the one who answers is not going to be able to produce any proofs, he’s just going to speak according to his memory and feeling. The listener can’t see for himself and so has to blindly believe the other’s words. Little by little the matter strays from Dhamma until it’s something else altogether, unconnected with the…

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On pain and thoughts

How We Participate in the Creative Life of the Universe

Creative by Nature

“If you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomena of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that…” ~Alan Watts

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We live in a Universe that is Creative by Nature, meaning that it is constantly changing, evolving and creating new things. Each living being is a unique expression of that creativity, and participates in the Life of the Cosmos in at least four ways- as physical, experiential, learning and socio-cultural beings.

Physical Creativity – Our first creative “act” is the part we play in bringing about (and maintaining) our physical existence here as current expressions of the great dance of life and evolution in our solar system. For “you”and “I” as individuals this began with the merging of ancestral DNA from our parents. Guided by the successful experiments of evolution over…

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Do not follow the ideas of others

Advayavada Study Plan – week 13

Dear friends,

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 was 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 was 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, in week 9 we further developed our very best attitude to carry out our improved personal objective, in week 10 we implemented our improved way of doing things as best as possible, in week 11 we concentrated on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective, in week 12 we made our best possible evaluation of our efforts to date, and, to conclude our current 13-week plan of action, in week 13 we shall continue to develop and deepen our very best meditation towards samadhi.

This task is based on the 8th step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-samadhi (in Pali) or samyak-samadhi (in Sanskrit); in Advayavada Buddhism’s 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): total or perfect concentration (of the mind, cf. enstasy); non-dualistic state of consciousness in which the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object; total absorption in the object of meditation; transcendence of the relationship between mind and object; merging of subject and object; to contemplate the world without any perception of objects; suspension of judgement; turiyatita; satori; bodhi; rigpa; realization of the sameness of the part and the whole, of the identity of form and emptiness, of samsara and nirvana, of the immediate and the ultimate; mystic oneness; perfect dynamic attunement with wondrous overall existence; oceanic feeling; wonder, awe, rapture; essential purity; deep love and compassion; awareness of our common ground and the innocence of sex.

Other translations of the 8th step are: right rapture (Arnold, Eliot, Malalasekera), right samadhi (Bahm, Dharmapala), right concentration (Bodhi, Burt, Ch’en, Conze, Dhammananda, Fernando, Gethin, Grimm, Guenther, Harvey, Horner, Karunadasa, Khemo, Narada, Nyanatiloka, Rahula, Saddhatissa, St Ruth, Takakusu, Warder), appropriate concentration (Batchelor), right meditation (David-Neel, Humphreys, Keown, Stroup), right meditating (Melamed), right illumination (Dharmapala), right awareness (Kornfield), right tranquility (Narasu), right contemplation (Rhys Davids, Watts); absolute concentration of purpose (Edwardes); correct concentration (Kloppenborg, Scheepers)

The ASP will be repeated in full in the second quarter of 2015 (weeks 14 to 26).

Kind regards,
John Willemsens,
Advayavada Foundation.
@advayavada

Earth as Sacred Community – Thomas Berry

Creative by Nature

Earth

“Our present urgency is to recover a sense of the primacy of the Universe as our fundamental context, and the primacy of the Earth as the matrix from which life has emerged and on which life depends.

The Earth with its layers of land and water and air provides the space within which all living things are nurtured and the context within which humans attain their identity… The ancient human-Earth relationship must be recovered in a new context, in its mystical as well as in its physical functioning.

There is need for awareness that the mountains and rivers and all living things, the sky and its sun and moon and clouds all constitute a healing, sustaining sacred presence for humans which they need as much for their psychic integrity as for their physical nourishment.

This presence whether experienced as Allah, as Atman, as Sunyata, or as the Buddha-nature or as Bodhisattva…

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