from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Friday, 7 March 2014

what binds us

Every time I read poet Jane Hirshfield's poem 'For What Binds Us', the title alone makes me smile. The poem is, Hirshfield (who is also a Buddhist) herself says, perhaps about love, or about the end of love, or maybe about time and connections.

This post is not about that poem, however.

For me, no matter what the subject, the title immediately makes me think of Indra's Net, that wonderful image for the Web of Being as envisaged by the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. I've spoken of it here before, and no doubt I will again – it underpins my worldview in a way that the Western canon's image never can: that hierarchy with – guess – man (sic) in a position of entitlement, privilege and unique rights at the apex, and with all other beings beneath.

The Indra's Net model is a beautiful and elegant image: all of us, all beings, held in an energetic mesh of interbeing, and where, at each node of the web, glows the jewel of a being, each intrinsic and essential to the whole.

What is important, to me, to remember is that the net is both immensely strong and durable, and also fragile. A tug, or a tear, anywhere in it will send ripples through the whole (as we are seeing in the dramatic and interlinked consequences of our interference in the ecosystems that are, and are of, the whole).

And I think of this web, this net, as being a constant interchange of energy and matter (the beings at each node being energy condensed into form, we could say), with the energetic connections sustaining the whole, and matter forming, dissolving and reforming, for always in its own beautiful unfolding, the 'law of continuing', which will, no doubt, continue, despite us. The binding of interbeing. 

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