Just this 6-foot-long body


Finding the end of the cosmos.  (source image via http://www.nasa.gov/)

Did you know that the whole universe fits into a 6-foot-long body?

In the Samyutta Nikaya (2.26) we find the Rohitassa Sutta, where the Buddha talks to a deva (kind of an angel, but not really) who once spent one hundred years of travelling, just to find the end of the cosmos. The Buddha teaches him that we don’t have to go to the end of the world to find an end to suffering:

I tell you, friend, that it is not possible by travelling to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away, or reappear.

Interestingly the Buddha then points out that you indeed do have to reach the end of ‘a’ cosmos, you just have to choose the right one:

But at the same time, I tell you that there is no making an end of suffering and stress without reaching the end of the cosmos.

He then gives this famous analogy of the 6-foot-long body that contains the whole cosmos:

Yet it is just within this 6-foot-long body, with its perception and intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos.

[SN 2.26]

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