Jeweled Net of Indra

The point I was making in the article I just, mercifully, sent to the editor of a community newspaper was the infinite interconnectedness and interdependence of every thing; a universe without edges you could say. Thankfully there is the old metaphor which describes this truth. The metaphor, Indra’s Net, is mentioned in The Flower Ornament Sutra, also known as The Avatamsaka Sutra.

“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 indefinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel at the net’s every node, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars of 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 the process of reflection is infinite”.
The Avatamsaka Sutra, Francis H. Cook:
Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra, 1977.
Copied from here.

A few people have asked if I will publish the article on Community and I’m think about doing that. As mentioned yesterday, up until now I have kept away from overt teaching on this blog. One reason is that blogging is an informal ‘come as you are’, kind of format. Where as the offering of Dharma has a more formal, ‘dignified’ feel. So Blogging may not lend itself to passing on Buddhist teaching, perhaps the spoken word would be more appropriate, Podcasting for example. The Blog is fine for implied teaching, as Jim said in a comment “Teach without teaching”, or something like that.

Blogging is characterized by the flowing of time. Each post has a time and date and an imperative to keep talking, keep posting daily. Daily life is where the teachings of Buddhism are put into practice, where one has the most powerful ‘life lessons’. I feel my contribution, in this format, is to highlight this by talking about my impression and thoughts about stuff I encounter in my day. For example the truly cosmic experience of seeing real live Bison walking across a frozen lake! What did I learn? That the capacity to encounter existence with Wonder and Awe is a fabulous gift that keeps one humble in the vast scheme of things. I’m back to Indra’s Net, always a great favorite with me.

Yes, I am in reflective mood, perhaps because ‘what next’ is hanging before me as we prepare for changes in Edmonton. A move to a smaller place in June, and my leaving in September.

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3 thoughts on “Jeweled Net of Indra”

  1. I well remember the Indra’s net you had us make & put up in the ceremony hall at the Reading Priory a few years ago. It was very pretty & effective with its sequinned jewels.

  2. I accept what you say about more formal teaching. And,surely it is all teaching in varied forms. I know my understanding has often increased through an informal chat over a cup of tea with a monk. What a privilege that can be!

  3. Yes, I well remember that project in Reading! ‘More Jewels’, ‘More Jewels’ I kept on saying.

    There is a place for formal teaching and a place for the informal contact too. As I think you must know I feel most at home talking informally and that is why writing this blog works well for me. Sort of a chat over the kitchen table kinda thing, only without the tea!

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