By Thomas Cleary

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Extra resources for Entry Into the Inconceivable: An Introduction to Hua-yen Buddhism

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The eighth mysterious gate is called using a phenomenon to illustrate a principle and produce understanding. Since one and all are mutually coproduced, one can be used to illustrate all-that is to say, for example, that the relativity of one phenomenon reveals the relativity of all. This concept is often referred to as the Buddhist teaching being revealed on the tip of a hair or in a mote of dust. This gate also refers to the use of phenomena as illustrations, such as the net of Indra. The ninth mysterious gate is called separate phenomena of the ten time frames variously existing.

The seventh gate is called the realm of Indra's net. The net of Indra is a net of jewels: not only does each jewel reflect all the other jewels but the reflections of all the jewels in each jewel also contain the reflections of all the other jewels, ad infinitum. This " infinity of infinities" represents the interidentification and interpenetration of all things as illustrated in the preceding gates. To illustrate the net of Indra principle with a simplistic exam­ ple from everyday life, we might consider the cost of a commodity as representing a nexus of various conditions.

When all things are identified with one, then one is manifest and the many is concealed. This amounts to an affirmation of the coexistence and noninterference of both perspec­ tives. The sixth mysterious gate is called the establishment of mutual containment even in the minute. This gate, based on the second through fifth gates, means that even the most minute particle con­ tains all things, like a mirror reflecting myriad forms. Once again this doctrine merely points out that all elements are integral parts of the whole, while at the same time and for the same reason the whole is, because of the relation of interdependence, an integral part of the existence of each and every element.

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