The "Net of Indra"

Steve Farmer saf at SAFARMER.COM
Fri Aug 18 15:55:34 UTC 2000

This is precisely what I meant by "extreme examples," Lance.
Thanks also to everyone who sent me suggestions off-List. I will
take a close look at this material; it is just in time for my
paper - which deals with the neurobiological and literate roots
of this kind of thought.


> > Also, if anyone knows of early instances of the "Net of Indra"
> > idea, or knows anything about its origins, please let me know.
> One aspect of its origins lies in the abhidha(r)mma. Specifically in
> the theories of hetu and pratyaya which try to show the
> interrelatedness of things. This is most elaborate in the last book
> of the canonical Abhidhamma-pi.taka in Pali: the Pat.thaana. This is
> a work of the last two centuries B.C. for those who accept the
> substantial closure of the Pali Canon in the first century B.C.
> Others would date it a century or two later.
> It presents a system of dhammas using the 22 triplets and 100
> couplets of the abhidhamma, analyzing their relationships in 24 major
> ways. In each of the 24 are seven chapters subdivided into four
> sections, each with questions and answers. Within each of these parts
> it operates its basic method of 24 paccaya (conditions/relations). In
> effect, everything is intricately related to everything else either
> because it must be there or it must not be there, etc., etc.
> I think this does qualify as 'extreme'. (And we haven't got to the
> commentaries yet!)  Whether it is precisely an example of what you
> are looking for, is harder to say. For myself, I would see it as
> expressing in terms of 'dhammas' something similar to what is
> expressed in some later Mahaayaana works in terms of persons
> (puggalaadhi.t.thaana). But these are not exactly systems of
> correspondences.

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