Advayavada Study Plan – week 28
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?
In week 27 we observed and studied the impermanence or changeability of all things, and to continue this new 13-week action plan, in week 28 we shall again study the selflessness and finitude of all things as thoroughly as possible; in Dutch: de vergankelijkheid van alles (het tweede kenmerk van het bestaan)
This task is based on the Buddhist anatta (Pali) or anatmata (Sanskrit) doctrine. It is the second of the three (in Advayavada Buddhism, four) signs or marks or basic facts of being. Anatta or anatman means that no imperishable self exists in the person in the sense of a permanent, eternal, integral, and independent substance; human beings currently live for about 4,000 weeks, during which wondrous life itself takes care of a lot for us: the lion’s share of our body’s activities is e.g. under the control of our peripheral nervous system, which includes the autonomic nervous system comprised by a sympathetic and a parasympathetic system, which e.g. jointly run our heart beat and the flow of blood through our blood vessels and much more.
In Mahayana Buddhism, the nissvabhava (Sanskrit) doctrine teaches further that in fact all things without exception are empty (shunya) of self-nature (svabhava), i.e. devoid of self-sufficient, independent existence or lasting substance; svabhava-shunyata (lit. self-nature emptiness) is a central notion in Madhyamaka philosophy. It teaches that indeed everything without exception arises, abides, changes and extinguishes in accordance with madhyamaka-pratityasamutpada, i.e. the process of universal relativity or interdependent origination, meaning here that ‘all causes are effects and all effects are causes’.
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 note that these ASP instalments in this format will cease in week 31.