Advayavada Buddhism

ON COURSE WITH NATURE.

Archive for the month “August, 2016”

Advayavada Study Plan – week 35

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 35] The purpose of the autonomous Advayavada Study Plan 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, such as our health, relationships, work, study, our place in society, etc. In weeks 27 to 31 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 32 we again honestly reviewed and took stock of our personal situation (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), and, to continue with this quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, this week we shall further cultivate and develop our very best attitude to carry out our improved personal objective. This task is based on the fourth step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-kammanta (in Pali) or samyak-karmanta (in Sanskrit); in Advayavada Buddhism’s fully personalized usage: our very best disposition or attitude; in Dutch: onze beste instelling (de vierde stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). (from advayavada.org/#plan)

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Freedom is the only condition for happiness

Zen Flash

Letting go gives us freedom,
and freedom is the only condition for happiness.
If, in our heart, we still cling to anything –
anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~

Source: Sojourners Path

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Don’t become a follower

Zen Flash

To a visitor who asked to become his disciple, the Master said,
“You may live with me, but don’t become my follower.”

“Whom, then, shall I follow?”

“No one. The day you follow someone you cease to follow Truth.”

~ Anthony de Mello ~

Source: Sojourners Path

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If you don’t understand right now, you’ll pass through countless eons more

Zen Flash

 “The concerns that have come down from numberless ages are only in the present; if you can understand them right now, then the concerns of numberless ages will instantly disperse, like tiles being scattered or ice melting. If you don’t understand right now, you’ll pass through countless eons more, and it’ll still be just as it is.”

~Ta Hui~

Source: Tao & Zen

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When Our Loved Ones Die

Zen Flash

grief3The true reason that we grieve for them is not that they have died, but rather that we miss their presence in our lives, and what they shared with us. If we truly grieved death, we would grieve for all who die, and yet we only grieve for our loved ones.

At these times, the mind tends to focus on our “loss”, but it is truly the experiential “gain” our loved ones brought to us that makes us miss them. However, no one can take that away from us. It is part of us, forever stored in our consciousness, life after life.

We can then turn our attention from our grief to the wellbeing of our departed loved ones, reciting prayers for them, as well as performing virtuous acts and dedicating the merit to them.

We can perform acts of generosity, rescue lives…

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Post-Buddhism: No Religion

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no religion.jpg

Buddhists teachers will often say that Buddhism is not a religion. But when you enter a temple or join a sangha, what you are confronted with is something that looks and feels very much like a religion. It’s every bit as dogmatic and oppressive as any religion, plagued by rigid narrow-mindedness, fraught with power trips and control issues. My experience has been that Buddhism-as-a-religion is just awful, the worst religious experience I have ever had. Having been born and raised a Roman Catholic, that’s saying a lot. So now I practice post-Buddhism. This is something akin to post-modernism: the “post” being “what comes after” modernism. Post-Buddhism is “what comes after” Buddhism-as-a-religion. It’s something akin to Speculative Non-Buddhism, but that’s a very academic form, defined within a tightly structured philosophy. The Non-Buddhist blog covers similar territory but is geared toward the non-academic. Matthew O’Connell’s Post-Traditional Buddhism blog and “Imperfect Buddha Podcast”…

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Consciousness and the Social Brain

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Another book I absolutely must read but don’t have time: Michael S. A. Graziano’s Consciousness and the Social Brain (2013, Oxford Univ. Press) I scanned the summary page that encapsulates his theory of consciousness:

social brain.jpg

I will reproduce the text here:

SPECULATIVE EVOLUTIONARY TIMELINE OF CONSCIOUSNESS

The theory at a glance: from selective signal enhancement to consciousness. 

About half a billion years ago, nervous systems evolved an ability to enhance the most pressing of incoming signals. Gradually, this attentional focus came under top-down control. To effectively predict and deploy its own attentional focus, the brain needed a constantly updated simulation of attention. This model of attention was schematic and lacking in detail. Instead of attributing a complex neuronal machinery to the self, the model attributed to the self an experience of X—the property of being conscious of something. Just as the brain could direct attention to external signals or internal signals, that model…

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Perfect Wisdom (Heinrich Dumoulin)

Perfect Wisdom (from Zen Buddhism: A History, volume 1, by Prof. Heinrich Dumoulin S.J., translated by James W. Heisig and Paul Knitter, New York 1988):

In the Prajñaparamita sutras the significance of wisdom for the pursuit of salvation is evident. It is wisdom that sets the wheel of doctrine in motion. The new doctrine of the Wisdom school is thus considered by Mahayana to be the ‘second turning of the Dharma wheel’, second in importance only to the first teachings preached by Shakyamuni.

The Prajñaparamita sutras also set forth the evangel of the Buddha by claiming silence as their highest and most valid expression. Wisdom, all-knowing and all-penetrating, is deep, inconceivable and ineffable, transcending all concepts and words. Most important, wisdom sees through the ’emptiness’ (shunyata) of all things (dharma). Everything existing is always ’empty’. The broad horizon of meaning enveloping this word, which occurs throughout the sutras, suggests that, in the attempt to grasp its content, feeling must take precedence over definition. In the Heart Sutra, the shortest of the Prajñaparamita texts, wisdom is related to the five ‘skandhas’, the constitutive elements of human beings, and to all things contained in them. The sutra is recited daily in both Zen and other Mahayana temples, often repeated three times, seven times, or even more. In drawn out, resounding tones the endless chanting echoes through the semidark halls (…)

In the Wisdom sutras the stress is put on demonstrating the doctrine of the emptiness of ‘inherent nature’ (svabhava). Free of all inherent nature and lacking any quality or form, things are ‘as they are’ – they are ’empty’. Hence, emptiness is the same as ‘thusness’ (tathata), and because all things are empty, they are also the same. Whatever can be named with words is empty and equal. Sameness (samata) embraces all material and psychic things as part of the whole world of becoming that stands in opposition to undefinable Nirvana. In emptiness, Nirvana and Samsara are seen to be the same. The identity of emptiness, thusness, and sameness embraces the entire Dharma realm (dharmadhatu). Like the Dharma realm, Perfect Wisdom is unfathomable and indestructible. Here the doctrine on wisdom reaches its culmination.

Of special importance for Zen is the fact that Perfect Wisdom reveals the essence of enlightenment. As a synonym for emptiness and thusness, enlightenment is neither existence nor nonexistence; it cannot be described or explained. “Just the path is enlightenment; just enlightenment is the path” (Conze, Selected Sayings – see advayavada.org/excerpts.htm for more relevant excerpts).

Advayavada Study Plan – week 34

[Advayavada Study Plan – week 34] 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 wondrous overall existence advancing over time now in its manifest direction. In weeks 27 to 31 we again treated the preliminary subjects, in week 32 we again honestly reviewed and took stock of our personal situation (first step on the Noble Eightfold Path), in week 33 we again took an appropriate and timely decision to adjust our course (second step), and to continue with this quarter’s 13-week Advayavada Study Plan, this week we shall again put our decision and improved objective in writing as precisely as possible. This task is based on the third step on the Noble Eightfold Path: samma-vacha (in Pali) or samyag-vac (in Sanskrit), in Advayavada Buddhism’s fully personalized usage: our very best enunciation or definition of our intention; in Dutch: onze beste uitleg (de derde stap op het edele achtvoudige pad). (from advayavada.org/#plan)

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