18 October 2007

Indra's Net

From Ken Jones' The New Social Face of Buddhism
In the heavenly abode of the great god Indra is a wondrous net that has a light-reflecting jewel at each of the infinite intersections of its threads. Each jewel exists only as a reflection of all the others, and hence has no self-nature. Yet its existence as a separate entity sustains all the other jewels. Each and all exist in mutuality, and since none casts its light by itself, it cannot cast any shadow that would deny the light of the others. Each has no existence separate from the whole, the one - which exists only through the many, yet the many create a whole that has its own significance and value. The energy that sustains the net is not generated outside the net or in any one part of the net but is, again, mutually generated through the interbeing of the entire net. Not only is the net infinite, but in each jewel is reflected another infinite net, and so on ad infinitum. The net is thus a metaphor for a paradoxical interbeing - a mutuality in which entities do and do not have an independent existence, are empty and yet exists.

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