Cake Stand of Existence
Many of us do not stop to ponder the existence of many of the things that constitute our world, and take for granted their existence. Upon deeper contemplation, we began to realize that many existences are defined by their “opposites”.
“They say there is no light without dark, no good without evil, no male without female, no right without wrong. That nothing can exist if it’s direct opposite does not also exist.” ― Laurell K. Hamilton, Incubus Dreams
Closer examination of the quote above shows that many of the existences that we have traditionally thought to be polar opposites have to coexist with each other in order for them to be possible. With all of the tragic events that are happening around the world today, it seems easy to conclude that the world consists only of immense suffering. We never stop to think that happiness is only defined because we have suffering. If there is no sadness, how would we know what happiness really is?
When we start to expand our circle of thinking, we begin to realize that many existences in our world are all connected. This concept is similar to the Buddhist principle that nothing can exist on its own:
“Shakyamuni used the image of two bundles of reeds leaning against each other to explain this deep interconnectedness. He described how the two bundles of reeds can remain standing as long as they lean against each other. In the same way, because this exists, that exists, and because that exists, this exists. If one of the two bundles is removed, then the other will fall. Similarly, without this existence, that cannot exist, and without that existence, this cannot exist.” – Soka Gakkai International
If we compare existence to a Japanese pagoda or a tiered wedding cake stand, the concept of interconnected existences becomes clearer.
At the bottom tier of the cake stand, we have God, the creator of everything that exists. Without a creator, nothing would exist: the very existence of nothingness depends on the existence of something or someone: the existence of God the creator is the premise for any other existences.
The second tier of the wedding cake stand is the universe; the third tier consists of galaxies; the fourth tier is our Solar System, which contains Earth, the Sun, and all the planetary bodies we are familiar with. The fifth and final tier of the cake stand is everything and everyone that exists on Earth.
As we move from a macro to a micro view, we begin to realize how everything is so deeply interconnected, where we can see that each cake stand tier cannot exist without the existence of the tier below it. Therefore if the universe didn’t exist, then nothing else would exist, except for God, since his existence ensures that everything exists. We can thus conclude that nothing (except God) can exist independently of anything else, and that all existences are interconnected.