By John Willemsens

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 ever becoming better than before. What human beings experience and identify as good, right or beneficial, indeed as progress (pratipada, patipada), 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 in the least to 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 reflection at the level of our personal lives of wondrous overall existence becoming over time. Now, as the Eightfold Path leads us towards an ever better situation, we now also know that, expressed in terms of human perception and experience, existence as a whole advances over time towards better and better as well. 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.

*Republished with the author’s permission. Original Post: A Life Affirming Philosophy and Way of Life



John WillemsensJohn Willemsens (Buddhist name: Advayavadananda) is a co-founder and the current chairman of the Advayavada Foundation and the director of its mouthpiece, the Advayavada Buddhism Information Center. In Dutch, John Willemsens published Tao is de weg (poetry) in 1987, then a new version of Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching (Bres, Amsterdam 1990), and in 1994 and 1996 two editions of a translation of Chapter 8 of Sir Edwin Arnold’s The Light of Asia.

Editor: Daniel Scharpenburg

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