Interconnected Suffering

Upside down, inside out. Topsy-turvydom! That’s the sense of the world right now. Does a day go by when topsy-turvydom, defined as a state of extreme confusion and disorder, does not impact us. Individually and collectively. Viscerally. Recent news, and if I think back I can’t remember when this has not been the case, brings us into contact with suffering. World suffering. Mass suffering.

While suffering is personal/individual it is, simultaneously, universal. Great Grief is the response; a deep connection of sympathy, love, compassion which showers on all, equally and without discrimination. While living in the world of duality the response need not come from duality. However ones response will invariably be conditioned to a greater or lesser extent and so it is that meditation and the Buddhist Precepts inform and guide ones response.

I’m thinking of the teaching of the Net of Indra and of the Tower of Maitreya. In the Avatamsaka Sutra, the image of Indra’s net is used to describe the interconnectedness of the universe:

Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each “eye” of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering “like” stars in the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring.

The merit of this post is for all those caught up, directly impacted or indirectly impacted by the happenings, past/present/future in this topsy-turvy saha world. The above link goes to a long passage from the Avatamsake Sutra, AKA The Flower Adornment Sutra.

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4 thoughts on “Interconnected Suffering”

  1. Thanks for sharing this. Indra’s net is so similar to the Native American “web of life.” And the philosophy that what affects one member of the tribe affects the whole tribe.
    Nancy Anderson

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