Home » Features » How Is One In All & All In One?

The more clearly we see phenomena,
we will see there is
no clearly distinct or static phenomena.

Stonepeace

The value of pi is that when the circumference of any circle is divided with its diameter. This mathematical constant is approximately 3.14159265359… Yes, that’s just an estimation. Out of curiosity as to how far they can calculate pi, mathematicians and computer scientists have extended it to over 10 trillion decimal places! Because pi is an irrational number (as it cannot be expressed exactly as a ratio of two integers (such as 22/7, which is but a rough approximation of pi), its decimal representation is endless and non-repetitive in structure. There is a ‘constant paradox’ – for pi is supposed to be a constant, yet its actual quantification is also constantly out of reach due to its ungraspable nature. And there is the ‘infinity paradox’ – for pi is assumed to be a finite value, yet it is infinitely incalculable, which makes it always nearing infinity. Looks like there are at least two kinds of infinities. That in ascending quantity (with more and more countable things), and that in ascending exactitude (with more and more measured of what seemed finite initially). The latter applies to pi. Then there is the ‘order paradox’ – for pi, though not at all random, seems unfathomably chaotic simultaneously.

If we reflect more deeply, we should realise that all physical and mental phenomenon in the universe is of similar nature, bearing the three paradoxes. Each and every single one of the five aggregates of form, feeling, perception, mental formation and consciousness, which makes up the world, when scrutinised in detail, will be realised to be ungraspable, incalculable and unfathomable. Just as pi is not rational, nothing can be measured in a crisp and clear way with only whole numbers. Take your height and weight for example. The more deeply you look, the more close yet far away you get to their true values. You might be 1.698765…m tall and 55.123456… kg. How much do you really measure? In the realm of the mind, things are more fuzzily abstract! This is reality itself – nothing but hazy clouds. What makes stuff more vague is that these are clouds of ‘changing-ness’, never with fixed substantiality. These are the universal characteristics of non-self (Anatta) and impermanence (Anicca). Yes, even your height and weight fluctuates in the moment! Exactly because phenomena has blurred edges, all is interconnected, interdependent and interactive, fluxing in the largest cloud of change that is the cosmos.    

The finite is of course within the infinite, for the latter is nothing but the finite in immeasurable amounts. The paradoxes hint that there is infinity within the finite too. Pi, for instance, seems like a small amount, but it is as if an infinitely growing one when looked into. Finity and infinity truly interpenetrate and interlock, reminding us of the Buddhist analogy of infinite entire worlds within infinitesimal worlds small as dust motes (atoms and such)! Since there is no endpoint when zooming in or out of space-time, what seems limited is not really so, which is why the unlimited is composed of and defined by the ‘limited’. (Even if the cosmos is limited in space and time, there is already limitless space and time within.) As in the Avatamsaka Sutra’s analogy of Indra’s net of jewels with each reflecting the others, all is in one, and one in all. Even a single fruit is fruition from the gathering of countless cosmic conditions, such as light, heat, water, nutrients… which allow it to come into being. Each of these conditions are in turn conditioned by countless other conditions… ad infinitum. If even a ‘simple’ fruit is actually so complex, of course, the big scheme of things, in connection, is infinitely more complex!   

There are infinite shades of blue
in a finite stretch of sky.
just as there are infinite stretches of sky
in a finite shade of blue.

– Stonepeace

Share This:

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Name (required please)

Email (required, will not be published)

Website (optional)