Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The Buddhabrot is a kind of Mandelbrot Set, an image created by graphing the full extrapolation of a simple and essential mathematical function. In this case, the image generated by running the numbers for the set is strikingly similar to the iconic image of the Buddha, seated in lotus position, encased in a halo of light. To the informed eye, the image offers cues including, for example, intersections seemingly closely aligned with the seven traditional chakra points; the appearance of not only a figure seated in the traditional position, but having hair bound up in a tight topnot, and a central heart with two great arteries twinned forth from it.

The formula is actually quite simple:

zn+1 = zn2 + c

(*for all sets for which z0 = 0 does not tend to infinity)

As the number of iterations increases, and the depth and detail of the image are enhanced, it seems to become possible to see cosmic architecture within the calculations, to see our Universe. Its diverse worlds, its stars, its galactic clusters and gaseous clouds, become apparent within the form of the Buddha. This occurrence presents great affinity to Pandeism, for the Pandeist, too, sees mathematical formulae embedded in the truth of our Universe, and our Universe expressed in mathematics underlying all physics, all design.

Confessedly, the image is short enough on detail that some disagreement is possible over things such as the placement of the arms and hands. And it only presents the iconic view from the zero rotation, with the image 'on its side' from how it would initially be graphed at that rotation. From a sidereal rotation, it seems more like a slightly bent two-headed pancake. But the iconography of the essential image could not be more fundamentally presented, this being the most natural presentation of any asymmetric Mandelbrot set appearing to be stacked upon a single broad base.

And so, to a devout Buddhist, it might well seem that the incidence of this mathematical as if our Universe itself were tugging at our sleeves and declaring, 'hey, check this out.' One can only imagine how representatives of other religions might behave if mathematical formulae unexpectedly produced imagery of their symbols or favoured characters. But they don't so we may never know.

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