Indra's Net: Alchemy and Chaos Theory as Models for Transformation

Overview

"Somewhere in the celestial palace of the dancing god Indra, there hangs a fabulous net that spreads out boundlessly over the cosmos in every direction. The divine craftsman has so cleverly fashioned this net that at every knot there hangs a dazzling jewel, each one so brilliantly polished that it reflects all the others. As above, so below...."

This image of Indra's net from a Buddhist sutra symbolizes the mystery that, through our own transformation, each of us is united with everyone and everything else. ...

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Overview

"Somewhere in the celestial palace of the dancing god Indra, there hangs a fabulous net that spreads out boundlessly over the cosmos in every direction. The divine craftsman has so cleverly fashioned this net that at every knot there hangs a dazzling jewel, each one so brilliantly polished that it reflects all the others. As above, so below...."

This image of Indra's net from a Buddhist sutra symbolizes the mystery that, through our own transformation, each of us is united with everyone and everything else. Author Robin Robertson finds parallel models in ancient alchemy, which tried to change base metal into gold, and modern chaos theory, which posits that tiny initial changes can have huge and unexpected outcomes-as a butterfly in Brazil might cause a tornado in Texas. Robinson lucidly shows how these two systems reveal the pattern of inner development in any spiritual tradition. No matter what one's particular calling, these surprising insights can enrich and accelerate the transformative stages of any spiritual seeker.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780835608626
  • Publisher: Theosophical Publishing House
  • Publication date: 6/30/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,445,579
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Foreword xi

Introduction 1

1 The Story of Alchemy and Chaos Theory 9

A Short History of Alchemy 9

A Short History of Chaos Theory 15

The Old Is New 20

2 As Above, So Below 21

Alchemy 21

Chaos Theory: Fractals 32

Lessons for Self-Transformation 39

3 Feedback 43

Alchemy 44

Chaos Theory: Cybernetics 54

Lessons for Self-Transformation 62

4 Take Apart, Put Together 67

Alchemy 67

Chaos Theory: Bifurcations and Attractors 77

Lessons for Self-Transformation 85

5 Chaos and Emergence 89

Alchemy 89

Chaos Theory: Chaos and Emergence 102

Lessons for Self-Transformation 113

6 The Philosopher's Stone 119

Alchemy 120

Isaac Newton: The Bridge between Old and New 131

Chaos Theory: Autopoiesis 134

Lessons for Self-Transformation 140

Notes 149

Bibliography 163

Illustration Credits 171

Index 175

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