‘Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net that has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each “eye” of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in all dimensions, 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 there is an infinite reflecting process occurring...it symbolizes a cosmos where there is an infinitely repeated interrelationship among all the members of the cosmos. This relationship is said to be one of simultaneous mutual identity and mutual intercausality.’[i]
Within this ‘abode’ of mutual intercausality all things have their connection. Processes reflect each other, and so a period of development can be, to use a familiar phrase, a rising tide that lifts all boats. Other times there is no ‘trickle down’ effect, just a tornado that brings everything into the eye of a hurricane.
In these current times of ‘tornados and hurricanes’ it can be a time of immense fear and insecurity. After all, all those support structures that exist to keep everything together are now being shaken badly, or for some pulled away. Many people will have lost much of their savings; future securities thrashed; stability and order decapitated; and, importantly, perceptions and beliefs stretched to the limits of credibility. Such degree of change is plain unnerving at best and increasingly fearful in less than best situations. It has to be said that many people actually ‘fear’ change; for them it brings trouble, hassle, and the unknown. And what people can’t understand usually means it becomes a self-created specter of fear. Politicians often perform the best in this category – usually because change in the long-term is a no-voter, and short-term change involves something negative for the people. So the status quo is safe; only that there is no future for the status quo in today’s global events. Transition is upon us whether we accept it or not, and the last thing we need is to be stuck in mimicry. We need to know for ourselves what is happening, how this will affect us, and what we intend to do about it.
[i] Cook, F. (1977) Hua-yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra.