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You are here: Index location Conceptual Science location Indra's Net

Indra's Net

The Net of Indra
"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 the deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel at the Net's every node, and since the net 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 know arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in it's 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 Avatamasaka Sutra" Francis H. Cook: Hua-Yen Buddhism : The Jewel Net of Indra 1977

Indra's Net is a methaphor of interconectedness and the relationships between the jewels can, at the finite level, be represented by a star polygon:
Indras Net as a Star Polygon

Please note that each point on the (imaginary) circle's circumference is connected to every other point. If we look at the concept of Indra's Net in one way then ()after the point and line and triangle) each star polygon represents the Net at a particular stage of complexity. If, for example, the circle had 12 points around it's circumference then the number of 'relationship lines' that connect them equals 78 which is a Triangular Number:
1, 3, 6, 10, 15, 21, 28, 36, 45, 55, 66, 78...
In fact all such 'Relationship Numbers' are Triangular Numbers.

Esotericists may be interested that the number twelve has a relationship number of 78: the same number as the number of Tarot cards (the 22 Major + the 56 minor arcana=78).

The numerical laws are in a way transcended when the number equals infinity. So if the points around the circle are infinite then the relationship numbers would also simply equal infinity.

The symbol of Indra's Net calls to mind this principle of VirtueScience: "Every Virtue supports and is supported by every other Virtue". To perfect one Virtue is to perfect all Virtues. To help heal and uplift one Virtue helps to heal and uplift all other Virtues. To illustrate this we can imagine "Perfect Bravery": such a state must also be perfectly humble, kind and spontaneous etc otherwise it would not be perfect. So can see that by healing and making more universal our qualities of humbleness etc it is also helping to perfect the quality of bravery.On the other hand if someone was generally kind hearted except in situations of physical or psychological danger where a meanness/selfishness took over then we can see that every virtue must be brave in order to express itself in all situations.

In working on our characters we can help resolve seemingly massive flaws that are hard to face by working on other aspects of ourselves: thus the main problem still gets worked on indirectly.

Each Virtue is like a luminous jewel in which every other Virtue finds it's reflection. Thus by brightening any one jewel we are adding light to all the others.

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