Buddhism as an Education

The path to Enlightenment



Namo Amitabha
THE NET OF INDRA


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GAIL ATKINS

The metaphor of Indra's Jeweled Net is attributed to an ancient Buddhist named Tu-Shun (557-640 B.C.E.) who asks us to envision a vast net that:

  • at each juncture there lies a jewel;
  • each jewel reflects all the other jewels in this cosmic matrix.
  • Every jewel represents an individual life form, atom, cell or unit of consciousness.
  • Each jewel, in turn, is intrinsically and intimately connected to all the others;
  • thus, a change in one gem is reflected in all the others.

This last aspect of the jeweled net is explored in a question/answer dialog of teacher and student in the Avatamsaka Sutra. In answer to the question: "how can all these jewels be considered one jewel?" it is replied: "If you don't believe that one jewel...is all the jewels...just put a dot on the jewel [in question]. When one jewel is dotted, there are dots on all the jewels...Since there are dots on all the jewels...We know that all the jewels are one jewel" ...".

The moral of Indra's net is that the compassionate and the constructive interventions a person makes or does can produce a ripple effect of beneficial action that will reverberate throughout the universe or until it plays out. By the same token you cannot damage one strand of the web without damaging the others or setting off a cascade effect of destruction.




Namo Amitabha

Life’s most awesome event is death, and death comes to all without regard to wealth, beauty, intelligence or fame. Death is inevitable, but how you die—terrified and confused, or with confidence and spiritual mastery—is within your control.
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