"If you take a mountain six miles long and six miles wide and six miles high, that’s the distance a bullock walks in a day. And a bird flies over the mountain once every hundred years with a silk scarf in its beak and brushes the tip of the mountain. In the length of time it takes the scarf to wear away the mountain, that’s how long you have been doing this."
—Ram Dass, The Idea of a Soul Mate (2010)
"Beyond human perception, in the life cycles of universes, time is measured in a unit known as a kalpa. How long does a kalpa last? Imagine a block of stone, one cubic mile in size. Now imagine a man approaching this enormous stone and rubbing it, once, with a silk cloth. Every 100 years, the man returns and rubs the stone once again. At this rate, the stone will be polished down to a tiny, smooth pebble long before a kalpa has elapsed."
—Patrick Farley, The Jain's Death (1999)
"[I]f there were a range of mountains a league in length, a league in breadth, a league in height, made of adamant, without a cleft or a crack, and once every hundred years an eagle were to fly across it with a silken streamer in its beak and were to swish the mountain just once with the streamer, the length of time that would be required for the mountain to waste away would be less than an aeon."
—W. Norman Brown, Man in the Universe: Some Continuities in Indian Thought (1966)
"Suppose, brother, there were a great crag, a hill one yojana wide, one yojana across, one yojana high without chasms or clefts, a solid mass. And a man at the end of every hundred years were to stroke it once each time with a Kāsi cloth. Well, that mountain in
this way would be sooner done away with and ended than would an æon."
—The Book Of The Kindred Sayings (Sanyutta-nikāya), Part II, Nidāna-vagga, ch. XV, Kindred Sayings on the Incalcuable Beginning, pgs. 121-122, translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids & assisted by F.L. Woodward (1922)
"Let it be supposed, say Buddhist writers, that a solid rock forming a vast cube sixteen miles high, and the same in length and breadth, were lightly rubbed once in a hundred years with a piece of the finest cloth, and by this slight friction reduced in countless ages to the size of a mango-seed; that would still give you no idea of the immense duration of a Buddhist Kalpa."
—Monier Monier-Williams, Buddhism in its connexion with Brahmanism and Hinduism and in its contrast with Christianity (1889)
"In Lower Pomerania is the Diamond Mountain, which is two miles and a half high, two miles and a half wide, and two miles and a half in depth; every hundred years a little bird comes and sharpens its beak on it, and when the whole mountain is worn away by this, then the first second of eternity will be over."
—The Shepherd Boy, from Grimm’s Household Tales, Vol. II, translated by Margaret Hunt (1884)
"A description of the duration of a kalpa can only be given in the language of Buddhism. Take a rock forming a cube of about fourteen miles, touch it once in a hundred years with a piece of fine cloth, and the rock will sooner be reduced to dust than a kalpa will have attained its end."
—Friedrich Max Müller, Lectures on the science of religion; with a paper on Buddhist nihilism, and a translation of the Dhammapada or "Path of virtue" (1872)
"[T]here is a stone four cubits square: a god dressed in white muslin passes this stone once in a hundred years; the muslin robe waved by the wind touches this stone as it passes; when, by the attrition this occasions, the stone shall have been reduced to the size of a grain of mustard, one antagh kalpé will have elapsed."
—George Annesley Earl of Mountnorris, Voyages and Travels to India, Ceylon, the Red Sea, Abyssinia, and Egypt, in the Years 1802, 1803, 1804, 1805, and 1806, Volume 1, pg. 433 (1811)
/misc | May 04, 2021
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