Indra’s Net

Indra’s Net is an Eastern concept about a god who fashioned a net of the universe. In this net, he put every thought and every person. Each of these were represented by polished pearls. They were so clean that they reflected one another. When one pearl was darkened, all other pearls were changed.

The story is used to explain the concept of emptiness and interdependence. Each pearl reflects all the pearls around it. If you tried to remove one, you wouldn’t be able to because it is connected to all other. Damaging one pearl would damage all pearls. The question is; if the pearls all reflect one another, does one pearl exist by itself? Is there such a thing as one pearl?

Applying this to humans, we are all interconnected. We all need each other and cannot exist by ourselves. Have you heard the expression, “you are the sum of the five people closest to you”? It’s true, you take on the traits of the people you hang around.

Surely in your head you’re thinking “if I left my friends, I would still be me”. This is not true because you are the cumulation of every person you’ve met and each experience you’ve had. You will always take on the traits of the five people closest to you. When one of them is hurt, you will be somewhat hurt. There is always an effect.

Indra’s Net basically says that we do not exist by ourselves. We are a reflection of everything around us. You cannot be fully removed from others. Likewise, others will pick up on your traits. When you act, you bring everyone else with you. You can make others better or worse.

If you tried to remove one person or thought, you would hold nothing. Each entity does not exist by itself. There is no substance without others. You couldn’t hold onto anything. This means that the universe is empty. There is nothing but an echo of what is. Take from it what you will but know that your actions, thoughts, and deeds, echo throughout Indra’s Net.


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