The jewel net of Indra

The model is not entirely new. In traditional Buddhism, there is a vision of the world considered as a ten thousand pictures of the self. It occurs in a fascinating but relatively unknown branch of Buddhism known as Hua-Yen. According to this vision, the world is seen as ten thousand raindrops, each an eye, each reflecting all ten thousand others.

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.

In some strange way I’m reminded of the design of the Smalltalk language, where every object is essentially of the same kind, and everything part of the same environment, able to communicate (reflect?) with one another through messages.

In the same vein, thinking of the Component-Entity-System pattern, which I’m somehow fascinated by, there is a “everything is the same kind of thing” vibe up to a certain extent. And somehow I feel this pattern is connected to what Alexander hints at with beings.

The jewels in the net of Indra, the living centers in the world, are what I call “beings”.

(Page 76)

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