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Awakening to Reality: The Net of Indra

31/08/14 21:56

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The Net of Indra


Posted by: Wei Yu

2009

The Net of Indra is a metaphor from Mahayana Buddhism that demonstrates the
principles of Interdependent Origination.
Here are a few articles explaining what this is about:

INDRA'S JEWELED NET


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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.

'Stickied Posts'
Chinese Translation of
Thusness/PasserBy's Seven
Stages of Enlightenment
Marshland Flowers
Great Resource of Buddha's
Teachings
The Concept of Sunyata
(Emptiness) in Mahayana Sutras

This last aspect of the jeweled net is explored in a question/answer dialog of teacher and

AEN's Chinese Articles

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

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one jewel"

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.es/2009/04/net-of-indra.html

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Awakening to Reality: The Net of Indra

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The moral of Indra's net is that the compassionate and the constructive interventions a

Translate

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.
A good explanation of the Hindu/Buddhist myth of Indra's net can be found in The Tao
of Physics
Physics, by Fritjof Capra: "...particles are dynamically composed of one another in a

Hautatu hizkuntza

Translate-ren eskutik

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self-consistent way, and in that sense can be said to 'contain' one another. In Mahayana

PasserBy

Buddhism, a very similar notion is applied to the whole universe. This cosmic network of

Wei Yu

interpenetrating things is illustrated in the Avatamsaka Sutra by the metaphor of Indra's


net, a vast network of precious gems hanging over the palace of the god Indra." In the
words of Sir Charles Eliot:
"In the Heaven of Indra, there is said to be a network of pearls, so arranged that if
you look at one you see all the others reflected in it. In the same way each object in
the world is not merely itself but involves every other object and in fact IS
everything else. In every particle of dust, there are present Buddhas without
number."
The similarity of this image to the Hadron Bootstrap is indeed striking. The metaphor of
Indra's net may justly be called the first bootstrap model, created by the Eastern sages
some 2,500 years before the beginning of particle physics.
Compare the first picture with:
Computer model of early universe. Gravity arranges matter in thin filaments.

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------------------------...One of the images used to illustrate the nature of reality as understood in Mahayana

April (9)
Emptiness as Viewless View
and Embracing the Trans...

is The Jewel Net of Indra. According to this image, all reality is to be understood on

Leaving traces or Attainment?

analogy with Indra's Net. This net consists entirely of jewels. Each jewel reflects all of

A casual comment about

the other jewels, and the existence of each jewel is wholly dependent on its reflection
in all of the other jewels. As such, all parts of reality are interdependent with each
other, but even the most basic parts of existence have no independent existence

Dependent Origination
Dan Berkow on the Experience
of Interdependent Ori...

themselves. As such, to the degree that reality takes form and appears to us, it is

The Net of Indra

because the whole arises in an interdependent matrix of parts to whole and of

Going Beyond

subject to object. But in the end, there is nothing (literally no-thing) there to

This Is It: An Interview with


Dan Berkow

grasp....

Four Views of Ch'an (Zen)

Source: Sunyata ('Emptiness')

What is Ch'an (Zen)?


March (8)

------------------------http://www.heartspace.org/misc/IndraNet.html

February (8)
January (2)
2008 (22)
2007 (14)

The Indra's Net: What Is It?

Themes
Acharya Mahayogi Shridhar
Rana Rinpoche (2)

FAR AWAY IN THE HEAVENLY ABODE OF THE GREAT GOD INDRA,

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.es/2009/04/net-of-indra.html

Action (6)
Actual Freedom (3)

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Awakening to Reality: The Net of Indra

31/08/14 21:56

THERE IS A WONDERFUL NET WHICH HAS BEEN HUNG BY SOME

Advaita (8)

CUNNING ARTIFICER IN SUCH A MANNER THAT IT STRETCHES OUT

Ajahn Amaro (1)

INDEFINITELY IN ALL DIRECTIONS. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE

Alex Weith (1)

EXTRAVAGANT TASTES OF DEITIES, THE ARTIFICER HAS HUNG A

All is Mind (21)

SINGLE GLITTERING JEWEL AT THE NET'S EVERY NODE, AND SINCE

Anatta (135)

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

asunthatneversets (5)
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THE AVATAMSAKA SUTRA

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu

FRANCIS H. COOK: HUA-YEN BUDDHISM : THE JEWEL NET OF INDRA 1977

Rinpoche (2)
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1)

When I was trying to come to a decision regarding the look and feel of my new web

Chris Kang (1)

site, I wanted to employ a background image that had universal import and could

Compassion (1)

point the way to an adequate description of the nature or reality. A tall order, if not

Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (1)

impossible, but the choice was clear: Indra's Net.

Dan Berkow (2)

There are several aspects of Indra's Net, as described in the above quote, that signify

Daniel Ingram (6)

it as a crystal clear allegory of reality:

Death (1)

1. The Holographic Nature of the Universe


Long before the existence of the hologram, the jeweled net is an excellent description
of the special characteristic of holograms: that every point of the hologram contains
information regarding all other points. This reflective nature of the jewels is an obvious
reference to this.
This kind of analogy has been suggested by science as a theory for an essential
characteristic of the cosmos, as well as as the functioning of the human brain, as
beautifully described in The Holograpic Universe by Michael Talbot.

Dependent Origination (55)


Direct Path (1)
Dispassion (1)
Dogen (2)
Douglas Harding (1)
DreamDatum (4)
Dropping (5)

2. The Interconnectedness of All Thingss

Dzogchen (21)

When any jewel in the net is touched, all other jewels in the node are affected. This

Emptiness (110)

speaks to the hidden interconnectedness and interdependency of everything and

Energy (1)

everyone in the universe, and has an indirect reference to the concept of "Dependent

Fetters (1)

Origination" in Buddhism. Additionally, Indra's Net is a definitive ancient correlate of

Garchen Rinpoche (1)

Bell's Theorum, or the theory of non-local causes.

Greg Goode (6)

3. Lack of a substantive self

Gran Backlund (1)

Each node, representing an individual, simply reflects the qualities of all other nodes,

His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2)

inferring the notion of 'not-self' or a lack of a solid and real inherent self, as seen in

Huayan (3)

the Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism and Buddhism in general.

I AMness (34)

4. Non-locality

I-Ching (1)

Indra's Net shoots holes in the assumption or imputation of a solid and fixed universe

Jackson Peterson (3)

'out there'. The capacity of one jewel to reflect the light of another jewel from the
other edge of infinity is something that is difficult for the linear mind, rational mind to
comprehend. The fact that all nodes are simply reflections indicates that there is no
particular single source point from where it all arises.
5. Innate Wisdom
The ability to reflect the entirety of all light in the universe attests to the inherent
transcendant wisdom that is at the core of all nodes, representing all sentient beings,
and to the inherent Buddha Nature.

Jay L. Garfield (1)


Jeff Foster (1)
Joan Tollifson (4)
Joel Agee (1)
John Welwood (1)
John Wheeler (1)
Judith Ragir (1)

6. Illusion or Maya

Julian Baggini (1)

The fact that all nodes are simply a reflection of all others implies the illusory nature of

Kalaka Sutta (1)

all appearances. Appearances are thus not reality but a reflection of reality.

Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1)

7. Universal Creativity

Karmic Tendencies (11)

A familiar concept in various high dharmas is one of an impersonal creative

Ken Wilber (1)

intelligence that springs forth into reality through the instruments of all living beings.

Kenneth Folk (1)

8. The Mirror-like Nature of Mind

Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso (4)

The capacity to reflect all things attests to the mind being a mirror of reality, not its

Kyle Dixon (5)

basis. This is a common thesis among various schools and religions.

Longchenpa (1)

And Indra's Net has been used as a defining metaphor for the Internet. One major

Lucky7Strikes (3)

web hosting site is www.indra.com.

Luminosity (33)

The following are some quotes and interesting web sites regarding Indra's Net:

Madhyamaka (9)

Indra's Net is a core metaphor of HuaYen.


Stephen Mitchell, in his book The Enlightened Mind, wrote:

http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.es/2009/04/net-of-indra.html

Maha (22)
Mahamudra (18)

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Awakening to Reality: The Net of Indra

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"The Net of Indra is a profound and subtle metaphor for the structure of reality.

Mahasi Sayadaw (1)

Imagine a vast net; at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly

Mahayana (2)

clear and reflects all the other jewels in the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite

Maitripa (1)

each other will reflect an image ad infinitum. The jewel in this metaphor stands for an

Master Tu Shun (1)

individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell or an atom. Every jewel is

Michael Everson (1)

intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel
means a change, however slight, in every other jewel."
(It's also interesting to note that contemporary physicists are in general agreement
that this ancient metaphor is indeed a good description for the universe.)

Milarepa (2)
Mind Body Drop (1)
Munindra (1)
Nagarjuna (2)

As one of the West's preeminent philosophers defined human interaction:


The [people] are the primary units of the actual community, and the community is
composed of the units. But each unit has in its nature a reference to every other
member of the community, so that each other member of the community, so that each

Namdrol (7)
Naropa (1)
Nathan Gill (1)

unit is a microcosm representing in itself the entire all-inclusive universe.

Niguma (1)

--Lecture: Body and Spirit, 1926, Alfred North Whitehead

Non Doership (2)

URL #1: A great graphic of Indra's Net

Non Dual (95)

URL #2: Indra's Net and The Glass Bead Game

Non-dual (3)

URL #3: The Glass Bead Game

One Thought Traveler ()

URL #4: Another interesting graphic

(14)

URL #5: An artist's conception...

Padmasambhava (3)

URL #6: Indra's Net and Holography

Peter Dziuban (1)

URL #7: Philosopher David Loy's Explanation of Indra's Net and Mahayana Buddhism

Peter Fenner (1)

URL #8: Buddhist Thangka similar to Indra's Net

Piotr (4)

Labels: Dependent Origination

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masterymistery

Satsang Nathan (21)

February 22, 2014 at 3:50 AM

Scott Kiloby (2)

Excellent article. Great blog, thank you.

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