On Your Way Home - A Road to Nirvana for the West

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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confusedlayman
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by confusedlayman »

PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:07 pm
Greetings to you all,

I just joined this forum and I recently attained Nirvana. I worked my way through various texts about buddhism (books, sutra's) which were quite frustrating for me to read as (A) none of them described the path fully in a clear and rational way, (B) most of the texts were in a format I was not familiar with, (C) I wasn't used to the writing style and use of old language.

This body came to form in the Netherlands, were I went to university. Most of the books and texts I have read used a rational and expository approach. So this mind is conditioned to read texts with a rational line of reasoning and I assume that a lot of people from the 'West' are conditioned in this way.

So, for me to understand the Sutra's, which have a lot of dialogue, was more time-consuming and frustrating then actually understanding the path. During my journey I took notes to help me figure out the pointers of the texts I have read and I used it to keep track of my own understanding of the path and reality. I ended up with a lot of notes, which explained the whole path in detail from a rational perspective. I reworked the notes in a way that they formed a readable manual on how to reach Nirvana for rational thinking people from the 'West.'

The manual might help people with a 'Western' rational thinking mind, who are interested in Buddhism but who are also struggling, as I did, to understand texts about the path. These people might struggle because they are not familiar with the format used, are not familiar with the writing style (lot of metaphors and stories), have trouble to understand old language use, experience a lack of depth and detail in the texts due to writers not fully understanding the path and reality and therefore not able to explain them in a clear, correct and understandable way.

I'd like to share this manual with you guys, so that it may serve to help people on the path and maybe someone will offer feedback on how to improve the manual or to fix errors. I am not doing this for any personal gain. The website I refer to has no advertisements, banners, malware, etc.. I am also not interested to gain a following, as the website only contains texts. There is no forum on the website and my name is not visible anywhere. My only purpose is to share knowledge in order to help people on the path. The link to the manual is; https://foundationsofhumanlife.com

Thanks in advance for your responses. Sharing is caring.
Hi peter,

Can u explain me depended origination in simple and easy way? Your website is not opening. I think you are updating it. In dependent origination of real death, what goes to next life? Thanks and explain me even if its complex.
Find a tree and practice jhana or dont regret later- Buddha
Something exist, dont exist, both exist and non exist, neither exist nor dont exist .. all these four possibilities are wrong- Nagarjuna
Find a dhamma companion or roam alone like rhinoceros in the wild- Buddha
If you are not happy even after following 8NP then you are doing it wrong- CL (confused layman)

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Dhammanando
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by Dhammanando »

confusedlayman wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:02 am
Your website is not opening. I think you are updating it.
He has published a book and closed the website:
PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 11:13 am
I decided to publish my writings as an e-book, that is why the website is offline. I improved the flow in the writings by keeping it really concise, and I also improved upon the explanations. The book is already available on Amazon and will be on Kobo in the next few days.

I really want to help people understand Buddhism. Why do you ask money for the book than? Because I need to make a living. Can you not make a living without this book? I can, but I have considerably less time available to help other people. Why not simply go into a monastery? I might do that in the future, but before I can teach other people in the monastery, I first have to get ordained, which takes up many years of my time, and I already know how and what to teach.

Greetings Peter Cordes
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

PeterC86
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 »

Dhammanando wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:28 am

He has published a book and closed the website:
I've put the book up for free at Kobo, for the time being. You can read it using their App (which is also free) or website. The title of the book is; 'On Your Way Home'. The book is only 47 pages long, so its a short read.

Am I allowed to post a link here?

Feedback is welcome.
I am only here to guide others who are searching for Nibbana.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by Dhammanando »

PeterC86 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:59 pm
Am I allowed to post a link here?
Certainly.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

PeterC86
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 »

Dhammanando wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:37 pm
Certainly.
Thanks for your response.
confusedlayman wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:02 am
Hi peter,

Can u explain me depended origination in simple and easy way? Your website is not opening. I think you are updating it. In dependent origination of real death, what goes to next life? Thanks and explain me even if its complex.
Hello Confusedlayman,

Here is the link to the free book I've written; https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/on-you ... guage=True You can also find it in their App. In the book you will find a complete explanation of dependent origination, in the simplest way I was able to write it down. If you've fully understood it, you've attained Nirvana. But don't expect to fully understand it by only reading an explanation, its not that easy.

In order to understand it, you have to contemplate and reflect upon the explanation in your own experience. Then you will soon find out that the explanation does not coincide with your convictions and worldview, this will lead to confusion, mental tensions or discomfort. There are two main ways to deal with this confusion or tension; (1) you refute the explanation using any means you see fit, or (2) you try to concentrate to figure out what is right. If you go for option 2, you've started on the Buddhist path.

The more you are able to concentrate, the more you are able to perceive what is actually happening. In your experience you will find understanding, its there where you are able to perceive the nature of things. The more you progress, the more subtle the differences become. The more you are able to concentrate, the less confusion and discomfort you will feel in your mind. So the beginning is the hardest.

I might add the above to the preface, it seems important to know.
I am only here to guide others who are searching for Nibbana.

SteRo
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by SteRo »

PeterC86 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:53 pm
In the book you will find a complete explanation of dependent origination, in the simplest way I was able to write it down. If you've fully understood it, you've attained Nirvana.
That made me laugh. But don't bother ...

PeterC86
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 »

SteRo wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:48 pm
That made me laugh. But don't bother ...
Thanks for your comment. I wish you all the best on the path.
I am only here to guide others who are searching for Nibbana.

SteRo
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by SteRo »

PeterC86 wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:08 am
SteRo wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:48 pm
That made me laugh. But don't bother ...
Thanks for your comment. I wish you all the best on the path.
Thanks. May your book reach those who are conditioned to be inspired by it. I mean there have been so many who wrote explanations of and commentaries on the Buddha's words. So many who have taught and are teaching their interpretations of the Buddha's words to others. And we can say that all of these did and are doing fine if at least one person among their readers and hearers attained the path through reading or listening to their words.

PeterC86
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 »

SteRo wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:29 am

Thanks. May your book reach those who are conditioned to be inspired by it. I mean there have been so many who wrote explanations of and commentaries on the Buddha's words. So many who have taught and are teaching their interpretations of the Buddha's words to others. And we can say that all of these did and are doing fine if at least one person among their readers and hearers attained the path through reading or listening to their words.
_/I\_ The goal of the book is not only for readers to attain the path, but also to complete it.
Last edited by PeterC86 on Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
I am only here to guide others who are searching for Nibbana.

PeterC86
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 »

I was able to improve the explanation in the last couple of paragraphs of the final chapter. Now it should be a lot easier to comprehend, I hope. I previously posted the complete final chapter here; viewtopic.php?f=16&t=33773&start=165#p529097

So, there is a formless something, without us distinguishing, defining, or interpreting it via our six senses. We also experience the formless through our intuition and instinct. Once you have let go of the identification with form, you are left with the identification of the formless. Although you no longer distinguish or define a form, you do recognize that you experience something. The only difference between form and the formless is whether we distinguish it or not. Both are from the same nature.

The formless is also empty of an essence, because we cannot separate something from our experience. Something does not exist for us, without us experiencing it. So, the formless something is also really nothing, because we cannot separate it from our perception, even if we cannot distinguish it ourselves. If we realize the previous, we do not identify with the formless anymore, as there is nothing to identify with. The only identification which exists is our mental fabrication, an attempt to identify with something, out of the ignorance that there really is nothing to identify with, outside our perception.

If we do not identify with something anymore, we attain Nirvana, and liberate ourselves from Samsara. Samsara is the endless cycle of rebirth, which has been described in Buddhist texts. This rebirth occurs whenever someone tries to distinguish an experience in form, and every time when someone tries to identify with an experience which we do not distinguish. We now know that nothing is really formed, and nothing is without form. There is also really no coming (birth), as the manifestation of form already existed in the formless. Just as there is no going (death), as form will continue to exist in the formless when the form dissolves. So, nothing does not come, and nothing does not go. Nothing is permanent; everything is impermanent. We are dissolved into nothingness, as we were nothing to begin with.

When you come to the above realization, you become aware that nothing is really perceived, but this doesn’t mean that there is no perception. Through the realization that no form is really perceived, your attention shifts towards the formless; that which is non-perceived.

If the formless is seen as something that exists independent from our perception, like God, it is non-perceived. Which means that you are assuming that you can grasp it, without actually perceiving it. Apart from the fact that God’s existence, or non-existence, is not verifiable, and rests on faith, clinging to the formless is not full liberation, as you still identify with something. This creates a spiritual entity that is separate from our perception. You cannot actually comprehend what this something is, or what its intention is, through which you still experience a subtle state of unsatisfactoriness. Its intention is then a source of doubt and subjective interpretation, which can then lead to different views of people on its intention. In addition, this formless something would be the basis for the manifestation of form. Where every thing, experience, event, or phenomenon, can be seen as a manifestation of this entity. This can then be used as an excuse to label that what we are capable of doing to be its intention. This entity also stirs up a desire for meaning in what is being experienced, thereby creating a spiritual self. This spiritual self may be even more difficult to see through than a physical or mental self, because it is anchored in the formless. In addition, people with a spiritual self, have often walked through life to get there, which may give them the feeling that they have achieved something.

We now know that the formless is empty, and therefore it is not possible to really grasp what you non-perceive (that which is beyond your perception). Through insight in the above, your awareness is thrown back and forth between neither perception, because nothing is formed, and nor non-perception, because the formless is also nothing. Until you realize that this going back and forth is also perceived from some point. That point is the state of 'neither perception nor non-perception', where there is stillness of the mind, this state is also Nirvana.

So, Nirvana can be attained in two ways; one way is the realization of nothingness, by fully realizing the nature of being; dependent arising. Through this realization, you realize that there is no coming, and no going. This way is called liberation through the intellect, or 'paññāvimutti' in the Pali language. 'Paññā' is the base and refers to the intellect, or cognitive side of consciousness; the faculty of thinking. Ignorance is the cause of misunderstanding or confusion in the intellect. Through realizing the true nature of being, ignorance is dissolved, because one realizes form and the formless are of dependent arising, and therefore empty.

The other way is through liberation of the mind, or 'cetovimutti', by becoming aware of the state which is 'neither perception nor non-perception'. 'Citta' is the base and refers to the (emotional) mind, the affective side of consciousness; or faculty of feeling. Grasping is the form of dissatisfaction in the mind, through the desire to grasp. By getting to the state of 'neither perception nor non-perception', this desire is abandoned, because there is no perception to grasp.

Copyright 2019 Peter Cordes
Last edited by PeterC86 on Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
I am only here to guide others who are searching for Nibbana.

SteRo
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by SteRo »

PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 9:31 am
SteRo wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:29 am

Thanks. May your book reach those who are conditioned to be inspired by it. I mean there have been so many who wrote explanations of and commentaries on the Buddha's words. So many who have taught and are teaching their interpretations of the Buddha's words to others. And we can say that all of these did and are doing fine if at least one person among their readers and hearers attained the path through reading or listening to their words.
_/I\_ The goal of the book is not only for readers to attain the path, but also complete it.
Sure that's been my understanding of 'attaining the path': one who attains the path will also complete it ... sooner or later.

SteRo
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by SteRo »

PeterC86 wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:07 pm
...
The manual might help people with a 'Western' rational thinking mind, who are interested in Buddhism but who are also struggling, as I did, to understand texts about the path. These people might struggle because they are not familiar with the format used, are not familiar with the writing style (lot of metaphors and stories), have trouble to understand old language use, experience a lack of depth and detail in the texts due to writers not fully understanding the path and reality and therefore not able to explain them in a clear, correct and understandable way.
...
I think I understand your motivation: a rational and detailed description. However if the Buddha would have considered more details necessary he certainly would have taught them. Since he did not, the details you are adding are the expression of your individual experience.
Since the Buddha did not mention details his teachings may match a great number of individual spheres of experience. Since you are mentioning details your teachings will match only a smaller number of individual spheres of experience. The more details you are adding the smaller the number will be until you end up with your teaching matching only your own sphere of experience.
I think these are good reasons why the Buddha's teachings are not very concrete and detailed. Applying the measure of rationality and consistency the suttas are even inconsistent at times. But I would ascribe these inconsistencies to the monks who put down the teachings from memory.
We will never get to know the original words spoken by the Buddha so we are somehow dependent on the teachings capacity to match our experience. The less rational and detailed the teachings are the higher their capacity to match.

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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by Sam Vara »

PeterC86 wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:53 pm

Here is the link to the free book I've written; https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/on-you ... guage=True You can also find it in their App. In the book you will find a complete explanation of dependent origination, in the simplest way I was able to write it down. If you've fully understood it, you've attained Nirvana. But don't expect to fully understand it by only reading an explanation, its not that easy.
Even getting to the free book is not that easy. I clicked on the link, signed up to the Rakuten Kobo thingie, which now tells me that I "have the book". It's not downloaded anywhere. Links don't seem to lead anywhere.

Is it a koan? Am I already enlightened?

PeterC86
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 »

SteRo wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 5:25 pm
I think I understand your motivation: a rational and detailed description. However if the Buddha would have considered more details necessary he certainly would have taught them. Since he did not, the details you are adding are the expression of your individual experience.
Since the Buddha did not mention details his teachings may match a great number of individual spheres of experience. Since you are mentioning details your teachings will match only a smaller number of individual spheres of experience. The more details you are adding the smaller the number will be until you end up with your teaching matching only your own sphere of experience.
I think these are good reasons why the Buddha's teachings are not very concrete and detailed. Applying the measure of rationality and consistency the suttas are even inconsistent at times. But I would ascribe these inconsistencies to the monks who put down the teachings from memory.
We will never get to know the original words spoken by the Buddha so we are somehow dependent on the teachings capacity to match our experience. The less rational and detailed the teachings are the higher their capacity to match.
Thanks for your feedback!

The logic I use in the book is only the vessel to break through the mental construct which holds one in Samsara. The moment you comprehend the final insight, it doesn't matter how you got there, because then you will realize the emptiness of logic. You can then leave the vessel behind. You can see how that happens by reading the last chapter in this topic. But before you get to the liberating insight, if you live in the West, you're bound by logic, because your mind, and thus your self and your worldview, is conditioned in this way (I explain this in more detail in the book). Thus, you even try to understand the sutta's in a logical manner, for which they are not suited.

So, yes the words I use in the book are from my experience, it was my path, but the logic I use can be applied to any Western mind. Therefore, I tried to be as detailed and thorough as I could, to match the teaching to our experience. The sutta's do not approach our (people in the West) experience, because it has a totally different approach to the mind, as to what we are familiar with.

How easy it is for one to progress using the book, depends on his ability to let go of his convictions. But this is also the case when you follow the path of the sutta's.

I explained earlier in this topic that I experienced two main obstacles in getting to Nirvana;
-Trying to understand the teaching
-Trying to understand the self

The teaching in the book should be very clear, as you can just follow the logic. Now you only have to figure out your self, and let go of your convictions.

And why not use all the options at your disposal? I used all the information I could find that helped me move forward. Most people on this forum already have a vague or clear clue as to what Nirvana should be, so there is really no need to fear getting lost. And if you still have doubts about whether you're there or not, you're not there yet, because Nirvana is very clear. And one can always fall back on the sutta's, if one understands them. ;)

But please don't understand me wrong, everyone should follow the teaching they want. If you like reading the sutta's, and they help you progress, who am I to judge?
Last edited by PeterC86 on Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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PeterC86
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Re: Foundations of Human Life - A road to Nirvana for the West

Post by PeterC86 »

Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:46 pm
Even getting to the free book is not that easy. I clicked on the link, signed up to the Rakuten Kobo thingie, which now tells me that I "have the book". It's not downloaded anywhere. Links don't seem to lead anywhere.

Is it a koan? Am I already enlightened?
Ah I see now that you need their App to read it (which is also free). The following link goes to their instruction on how to install the desktop App; https://help.kobo.com/hc/en-us/articles ... -PC-or-Mac

You can also download their free App on your mobile phone, tablet, or e-reader, through the usual methods to get Apps on each device and operating system.
I am only here to guide others who are searching for Nibbana.

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