One day, the Chinese monk Fazang (Fa-tsang) was delivering a talk on the Avatamsaka Sutra (lit. The Flower Ornament Sutra) in the court of Empress Wu (624 – 705 CE). He explained a universe with many dimensions of consciousnesses, many realms of existence that were not just interconnected but mutually contained each other. 

“I get it, but I don’t get it,” the empress said. “I understand interconnectedness but how can two things contain each other?”

It was well known that the law of interconnectedness was not only ...