Advayavada Buddhism

ON COURSE WITH NATURE.

Archive for the month “June, 2015”

Altar Sutra: Questions and Answers

A government official named Wei host a dinner and asked the Patriarch to give teachings.
Wei said, “I have heard your teachings. Your teachings are so deep that it is beyond me and I have some doubts to ask you about.”

“If you have any doubts, please ask and I will explain,” the Patriarch replied.

A lot of Buddhist texts function this way, as a Q & A session. Many of the Buddha’s morality teachings exist because his followers spent a lot of time asking him what was and was not okay. So, in this section, Hui-neng is following the Buddha’s example as a teacher.

Q: Are you teaching the same philosophy as Bodhidharma, the first Patriarch?
A: Yes

Q: I was told that when Bodhidharma met Emperor Wu he was asked what merits the Emperor would get for the
work of his life supporting the Dharma by building temples…

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Meditation is not evasion

Advayavada Study Plan – week 27

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, this quarter, are the subjects of weeks 27 to 31) 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 help improve the didactic presence of Advayavada Buddhism on the social media; what is your specific objective this quarter?

To commence this new 13-week plan of action, in week 27 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; in Advayavada Buddhism, karma is the universal process of interdependent origination (madhyamaka-pratityasamutpada) as it is experienced at the sentient level and our individual share of it is the everchanging knotlet of biopsychosocial (bps) events in which we are personally embedded.

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 undeniably due to the very many everywhere not knowing or not understanding or simply disbelieving the true nature of existence.

Please feel free to share these ASP instalments.

Kind regards,
John Willemsens,
Advayavada Foundation.
@advayavada

Meditation is natural

Tom Das

evening sky

I recall walking in the gardens of a local convent in Autumn last year. After meandering around for a while I found my self standing by a tree. I looked up to see a dark angular leaf-less branch silhouetted against a luminous evening blue sky. There was complete stillness and a sense of vastness. The universe was functioning, but “I” was not there. Everything was happening by itself, seemingly magical and uncaused. The silence was deafening, as they say. The universe was, as ever, mysterious, strange and peaceful. It was both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.

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Altar Sutra: On Prajna: Part 3

The Prajna that is within each of us is like rain. The moisture in it hydrates every living thing. When rivers reach the ocean, the water carried by them merges into one body.

When there is a great flood, plants that don’t have deep roots are washed away. This is the case of those who don’t listen attentively when they hear teachings like these.

The Prajna in them is the same as that within the very wise, but they still fail to Awaken when they become aware of the Dharma.

Why?
Because they are deeply trapped in delusion, in the same way that a dark cloud can block us from seeing the sun.

We all have the same level of Prajna, the only difference is in regard to how much of our delusions we have cleared away.

One who is under the delusion that Buddhahood can be attained by the…

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Who am I?

Zen Flash

“Master, I have been contemplating something” said the disciple. “What have you been contemplating?” replied the master. “I have been contemplating who I am” the disciple said softly. “A most worthwhile question disciple Cho, and what is your answer?” “I do not know” said disciple Cho, “and it troubles me.” The master replied “Perhaps I can be of help. There is a scroll in our temple that an ancient master left us. It contains a poem. I shall recite it to you.”

I am the wind on the sea
I am the ocean wave
I am the sound of rustling leaves
I am the dog romping through the grass
I am the hawk on the cliff
I am the dewdrop in sunlight
I am the fairest of flowers
I am the powerful bear.
I am the softest whisper
I am the manta ray in the deepest waters
I am…

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Truth is lived

Zen Flash

 “The deity is within you, not in ideas and books.
Truth is lived, not taught.”

~Hermann Hesse~

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The Tao is nowhere to be found

Advayavada Study Plan – weeks 25 and 26

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, this quarter, 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 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’s your specific objective this quarter?

In week 14 we observed and studied the impermanence or changeability of all things, in week 15 we studied the selflessness and finitude of all things, in week 16 we observed the ubiquity of existential suffering in the world, in week 17 we continued to deepen our understanding that ignorant craving and attachment are the immediate causes of existential suffering, and in week 18 we surveyed the Noble Eightfold Path that eliminates the immediate causes of existential suffering, thus concluding the preliminary subjects.

In week 19 we honestly reviewed and took stock of our personal situation (first step), in week 20 we took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course (second step), in week 21 we again put our decision and objective in writing (third step), in week 22 we further developed our very best attitude to carry out our improved objective (fourth step), in week 23 we implemented our improved way of doing things (fifth step), in week 24 we concentrated on mustering our very best effort and commitment to fulfil our improved objective (sixth step), and, to conclude this 13-week action plan, in week 25 we shall again make our best possible evaluation of our efforts to date and in week 26 we shall continue to develop and deepen our very best meditation towards samadhi*.

These tasks are based on the seventh and eighth step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-sati (in Pali) or samyak-smriti (in Sanskrit); in Advayavada Buddhism’s usage: our very best observation or reflection and self-correction; in Dutch: onze beste aandacht (de zevende stap op het edele achtvoudige pad), and 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.

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 undeniably due to the very many not knowing or not understanding or simply disbelieving the true nature of existence.

Weeks 25 and 26 have been combined in one instalment due to holidays; please feel free to share it as usual.

Kind regards,
John Willemsens,
Advayavada Foundation.
@advayavada

Sometimes the best way to solve a problem…

Zen Flash

Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to first let go of the idea that there is a problem. This can be especially true with human relationships.

Sometimes we hold negative thoughts or feelings about someone. We may blame them for something they said or did. Those thoughts and feelings then block our hearts, influence the words and actions we take, thus perpetuating this “problem” with the other person.

Letting go of the judgmental thoughts and negative feelings we’ve been holding onto allows compassion, wisdom and gratitude to rise again, within us.

When we think and feel positively about the other person, we will speak to them differently, behave with greater kindness, so that gradually the “problem” is not so much solved, as dissolved.

~ Christopher

Tao & Zen

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