Post
by **Aemilius** » Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:01 am

* Alex Bellos* in his book **Alex's Adventures in Numberland** in Chapter three, *Something about Nothing*, quotes from the Lalitavistara Sutra:

"Not only was the Buddha able to fathom the impossibly large, he was also proficient in the realm of the impossibly tiny, ex- plaining how many atoms there were in the yojana, an ancient unit of length around 10km. A yojana, he said, was equivalent to: Four krosha, each of which was the length of One thousand arcs, each of which was the length of Four cubits, each of which was the length of Two spans, each of which was the length of Twelve phalanges of fingers, each of which was the length of Seven grains of barley, each of which was the length of Seven mustard seeds, each of which was the length of Seven poppy seeds, each of which was the length of

Seven particles of dust stirred up by a cow, each of which was the length of Seven specks of dust disturbed by a ram, each of which was the length of Seven specks of dust stirred up by a hare, each of which was the length of Seven specks of dust carried away by the wind, each of which was the length of Seven tiny specks of dust, each of which was the length of Seven minute specks of dust, each of which was the length of Seven particles of the first atoms. This was, in fact, a pretty good estimate. Just say that a finger is 4cm long. The Buddha’s ‘first atoms’ are, therefore, 4cm divided by seven ten times, which is 0.04m×7–10 or 0.000000- 0001416m, which is more or less the size of a carbon atom. The Buddha was by no means the only ancient Indian

the Big Bang – which gives us the number of unique positions of every particle since time began – we are still only on 10¹⁴⁰, which is way, way smaller than 10⁴²¹. The Buddha’s big number has no practical application – at least not for counting things that exist.

Not only was the Buddha able to fathom the impossibly large, he was also proficient in the realm of the impossibly tiny, explaining how many atoms there were in the yojana, an ancient unit of length around 10km. A yojana, he said, was equivalent to:

Four krosha, each of which was the length of

One thousand arcs, each of which was the length of

Four cubits, each of which was the length of

Two spans, each of which was the length of

Twelve phalanges of fingers, each of which was the length of

Seven grains of barley, each of which was the length of

Seven mustard seeds, each of which was the length of

Seven poppy seeds, each of which was the length of

Seven particles of dust stirred up by a cow, each of which was the length of

Seven specks of dust disturbed by a ram, each of which was the length of

Seven specks of dust stirred up by a hare, each of which was the length of

Seven specks of dust carried away by the wind, each of which was the length of

Seven tiny specks of dust, each of which was the length of

Seven minute specks of dust, each of which was the length of

Seven particles of the first atoms.

This was, in fact, a pretty good estimate. Just say that a finger is 4cm long. The Buddha’s ‘first atoms’ are, therefore, 4cm divided by seven ten times, which is 0.04m×7–10 or 0.0000000001416m, which is more or less the size of a carbon atom."

svaha

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

(Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1.)