Reply To: Post on "Buddhism and Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27)"

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One thing seems not accounted for in the Buddha’s (i.e.the real) model.

Stars not massive enough to go supernova, like the Sun, will expand into red giants, engulfing and destroying the nearer planets including Earth (in the case of the Solar system) before shrinking back to white dwarfs. If an inhabited planet lies within that radius, the destruction will happen before the explosion of a supernova in the vicinity. The star’s time ‘is up’ before that of the supernova.

I have for long pondered in how literal a sense the term ‘10,000’ world-system’ should be taken. Some say it may even refer to a Galaxy. I do not see that as a possibility, as 10,000 is a far cry from 200 billion (I would say the number is closer to 1000 billion, i.e. one trillion), and the Buddha would surely have used a different number, even if in a figurative sense. (The Buddha’s similes about how long an aeon is and the chances of being born human, for instance – the turtle and the yoke, the sand grains on His fingernail – are very factual: taking the trouble to do some calculation will confirm it). And globular clusters do not fit the bill on other considerations.

Now it is estimated that a supernova’s ‘kill zone’ lies in the space within 26 light years of the outburst. I have made some calculations: given the density of stars in our vicinity of the Galaxy, within that space (about 73,600 cubic light years) there would be only about 330 stars. But those are stars in the 4% universe! If the remaining mass of 96% were taken into account, the number would rise to 8,250 !! Of course, those ‘unseen’ stars, and, by extension, planets, would be fine-material (better than the scientific because poetic ‘dark’).

I am not saying that is how matter stands in actual fact, to be sure. I am only trying correlate the term ‘10,000 world-system’ with the latest scientific ‘facts’. I would very much appreciate the input of others.