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Indra's Net

Robbie Heidinger

I think most artists have a few nagging images that are stuck in their minds whenever they create. For me it has been Indra's net.   

The following parable from the Buddhist canon provides a beautiful visual metaphor for the interdependence and interpenetration of all phenomena.

Suspended above the palace of Indra, the Buddhist god who symbolizes the natural forces that protect and nurture life, is an enormous net. A brilliant jewel is attached to each of the knots of the net. Each jewel contains and reflects the image of all the other jewels in the net, which sparkles in the magnificence of its totality.

When we learn to recognize what Thoreau refers to as "the infinite extent of our relations," we can trace the strands of mutually supportive life, and discover there the glittering jewels of our global neighbors. Buddhism seeks to cultivate wisdom grounded in this kind of empathetic resonance with all forms of life.

- from "Thoughts on Education for Global Citizenship", a lecture given by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda at Columbia University on June 13, 1996.


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