I love religious mythology—its poetry and its gravity.
One of my favorites is the Chinese Hua Yan Buddhist myth of Indra’s net. The tale describes a wonderful net hung in the heavenly palace of the God Indra. In every eye of the net, everywhere its threads cross each other, a perfectly round and reflective jewel is sewn. Indra’s palace is infinite in size, so the net is also infinite, so its jewels are infinite in number. Even more remarkable, though, the net is hung in such a precise way that every jewel reflects every other jewel in the lattice. Look at one and you see them all reflected. The effect of this arrangement is awesome: Each jewel reveals and, so, in a sense, contains every other. Changing or removing any one of them changes the entire system of reflections—every other jewel is affected. A natural holism is co-created. And the arrangement has no hierarchy and no start or end points, so no causes or effects. Indra’s net simply is.
Buddhists believe Indra’s net symbolizes the true structure and nature of reality.
Both the image and its philosophical implications resonate with me: Everything is connected. We’re all interdependent. Nothing exists in isolation. And we’re all equally vital.
Recently I was browsing headlines at a cool website called Science Impossible and found a link to a National Geographic article about the IGM—the intergalactic medium. Fascinated by cosmology, I clicked and read. Here are the first two paragraphs of the story:
Much of the missing “normal” matter in the cosmos has been found clustered around wispy ropes of invisible matter spanning the space between galaxies.
The filaments form part of the vast weblike superstructure of the universe, within which galaxies are embedded like sparkling sequins.
The quote’s italics are mine, added to show the place in the article where I started smiling, recognizing a poetic interconnection between the author’s description of the cosmos and Indra’s net!
The parallel is beautiful to me. It’s also compelling—scientific observation lining up with spiritual intuition.
What happens when metaphors become measurables? For me, wonder increases and life becomes richer.