“The Net”–Captured in Each Other’s Minds

I always let my blog followers know about my recent art and fiction publications.  Just two days ago my short story, “The Net”, was published in an online literary journal (www.orionheadless.com). The Buddhist metaphor of the net underpins not only this short story but also my writing, art and philosophy of life. Read the short story in tandem with this post for a fuller back-story to the Buddhist values implied in “The Net”.

The Buddhist concept of perception was front and center in an art class on Color Fundamentals. I learned that human vision is limited in terms of what colors we see.  Color differs from one individual’s vision cells to another person’s.  Yet we all use a language of color.  Moreover, human perception of color may not actually correspond to the color of the object.  We receive and perceive colors based upon our ability to accept certain wavelengths of color.  These colors differ from fish or birds, for example. Or from other people who have color differences (formerly called “color blind”). This is such a Buddhist concept of perception!

My short story,” The Net”, is taken from a classic Hindu tale adapted by the Mahayana Buddhist school in which the god Indra’s net is strung together with crystal jewels reflecting off each other.  In Buddhism this becomes the icon for the philosophical concept of interconnectivity, interdependence, community between and among all sentient beings.  In some of the more philosophical Hua-yen treatises, Indra’s net symbolizes each individual mind reflecting others in continually evolving, fluid patterns.

The Buddhist notion of interdependence implies that all of life is mind-created, illusory as a reality in and of itself (just as color is).  Our world is limited by and dependent upon what our minds want and can see.   By definition, we cannot know anything separate from our own mind and how it is reflected by other minds. I used this profound metaphor for the structure of our reality to create a story about a social net, a circle of women friends who support and reflect each other’s thoughts and feelings. The friends mirror each other and each of them is a jewel intimately connected with all the other jewels in the group. When one jewel changes or shifts slightly, it resonates with the other jewels that reflect it. In my short story it is stories from childhood that the women tell which rebound and reflect off each other.   All the women understand.

The irony and current reaffirmation of connection and community is evidenced by our attraction to the Internet and social networking.  There is even an Internet company in Boulder, Colorado called “Indra’s Net”! The net is all around us and expands to infinity: a meditation on the interplay of each of us as stored and reflected in the minds that surround us. A mesmerizing and elegant concept indeed!

4 comments on ““The Net”–Captured in Each Other’s Minds

  1. thank you, diana. you are truly one of the jewels of whom I reflect. this is such a sensitive way of thought. I will certainly read the short story when I have the time. so wise, my friend.
    love the way you can bring things into your life, the buddhist way…

  2. Diana:

    A fascinating piece. I just returned from Austin where I taught a workshop on story structure. Your use of Indra’s net is relevant to where my head has been. You’ve expanded my sense of how some metaphors can also become structure.

    -Matilda

    • Thanks so much, Matilda, for your comments. I try to use metaphor, particularly the “unhealed wound”, for acts of heroism. Buddhism has the same concept, usually designated as karma, but Indra’s net is so fascinating especially for a more scientific analysis of how the mind revolves in a reality mutually dependent upon others.

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