Sunday, December 1, 2013

Don't Piss in the Net


I have just finished a course in Huayan Buddhism. Huayan is Chinese Chaan School of philosophy founded by Fazang a chaan patriarch. The book for the course was Hua-yen Buddhism by Frances Cook. This book covers the philosophy aspect of Huayan in great detail and from many angles. However it is very dry, and does not offer much insight into the application of Huayan philosophy in everyday life. When I write a blog post I like to use everyday situations as my topic. I am going to attempt take some what I learned from Cooks book and give some real everyday examples and possible uses for this ancient Chinese philosophy.

The heart of Huayan is interconnectedness which simply implies that one thing cannot exist without the all the causes on conditions of everything else. What we consider today as string theory in quantum physics or movie goers know it as the butterfly effect. Huayan uses the analogy of a net where each connecting point has a jewel and each jewel reflects all the other jewels on the net. For example if I were to through a cigarette butt into the net each jewel would add to its reflection a cigarette butt. Therefore the butt becomes a part of every jewel on the net, or if I toss a flower in the net, obviously the flower would be better than a cigarette butt especially when we take into consideration that it becomes a part of everything in whole net. The meaning of this is everything we do and say in our daily life becomes a part of the whole net eco-system. Therefore if I treat everyone, like crap it will cause suffering to others in ways that I will not be aware of. Furthermore the same goes for how we treat the environment everything we do has an effect in the eco-system. Everything is connect and there is no escape from that fact.

For example my neighbor takes my parking spot on the street; I get mad and piss in his bushes.. A seemingly harmless act, however my neighbor has a dog and I soiled his domain. The dog gets upset and disrupts my neighbor’s family. Let’s say my neighbor Harry can’t sleep because of the commotion caused by the dog, harry happens to be a brain surgeon. Harry goes to work the next day tired and messes up a surgery. The effects go on forever because I pissed in his yard.

There is good news here part of this eco-system is impermanence. Nothing stays the same all it takes is for one thing to change and whole cycle is interrupted and a new one begins. So rather than pissing in somebody’s yard, if we plant flowers infinite flowers will bloom throughout the entire net of existence.

Though this philosophy is over a thousand years old it is more important now than ever to be aware of how we affect each other and the environment. None of us will ever be perfect but awareness of how we affect each other and the world around us can make a huge difference. In today’s world of technology and social networking we are more connected now that ever. As result our influence goes way beyond family and co-workers. The revolutions in Syria and Egypt are great examples of how a few people had an influence over many, causing regime changes. Sometimes words don’t even have to be spoken, or action taken. Just being can change the way things are. Doing nothing may have more profound result than any other action the domino effect stops when either there are no more dominos to fall, or at the one domino that simply won’t budge and refuse to fall with rest and sits still among the surrounding chaos. We can sit still like the Buddha to attain enlightenment so that light of Buddhahood can shine and become a part of every jewel in the net.

Thank for stopping by
El Dharmarado