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Weights and Measures





One followed by 28 zeros. A very large number. See also: Lilavati Definitions for more large numbers.

Pali Text Society, Pali English Dictionary (edited entry):

Nahuta: ... a vast number, a myriad Sn 677; J I.25, 83; Pv IV.17; DhA I.88; PvA 22, 265.



A measure of years. See also: Lilavati Definitions for more large numbers.

Pali Text Society, Pali English Dictionary (edited entry):

Asankheyya: (adj.) [a + sankheyya, grd. of saŋ-khyā] incalculable, innumerable, nt. an immense period A II.142; Miln 232 (cattāri a.), 289 DhA I.5, 83, 104.





A unit of quantity often referenced in the Suttas (more often in the Jatakas), equal to 107 or 10 million.





The lakh or lac: a measure of quantity, equal to 100,000.




Childers: [abridged entry]: The numerals are called saŋkhyā (Sen. K. 404). The high numerals rare given at Ab. 474-476 and Sen. K. 412, 413: they are as follows,
sataṃ, a hundred,
sahassaṃ, a thousand,
dasasahassaṃ or nahutaṃ ten thousand,
satasahassaṃ or lakkhaṃ, a hundred thousand, a lac,
dasasatasahassaṃ, a million,
koṭi, ten millions.
From koṭi upwards each succeeding numeral is ten million times the preceding one. They are:
pakoṭi ( = ten million koṭis)
koṭippakoṭi, nahutaṃ, ninnahutaṃ, akkhohinī, bindu, abbudaṃ, nirabbudaṃ, ahahaṃ, ababaṃ, aṭaṭaṃ, sogandhikaṃ, uppalaṃ, kumudaṃ, puṇḍarīkaṃ, padumaṃ, kathānam, mahākathānaṃ, asaŋkheyyaṃ.






Pali Text Society:
Rhys Davids:
Buddhist India,
Fig. 24.
Ancient Indian Coins.

A coin described as square, made of copper or silver and possibly of gold weighing about 146 grains.
(There are 437.499999999 grains/oz)
PED describes the purchasing power as being about that of the florin = 2 shillings (in Rhys David's day — 1903 —
Today (7.14.2011) the 1903 GBP = US$ $3067.87039.
Two Pounds, 2 Shillings (or 2 Guineas) GBP in 1903 had the purchasing power of about Ā150.36 GBP today.
1 pound = 20 shillings.
1 shilling = $1.61
1 florin = $3.22.)
Today (Tuesday, April 01, 2003 12:02 PM — PM London Gold Fix: 334.35/oz) a gold kahāpaṇn would be worth @ $111.50; a silver k. @ $1.47; and a copper K. @ $0.015.
[Updated July 14, 2011, 3:26 AM — AM London Gold Fix: $1592.50/oz; a gold kahāpaṇa would be worth $531.07; silver $13.12; copper @ $0.088.
Today (7.14.2011) with the British Pound at $1.61 USD,
20 shillings/pound,
the purchasing power of 2 shillings = $0.0805]

Worth four Padas or twenty masakas[3]

Māsa3 [identical with māsa2] a small coin ( = māsaka) J II.425 (satta māsā = s. māsakā C.).

Māsaka [fr. māsa2+ka = māsa3] lit. a small bean, used as a standard of weight and value; hence a small coin of very low value. Of copper, wood and lac (DhsA 318; cp. KhA 37; jatu-, dāru-, loha-); the suvaṇṇa- (golden m.) at J IV.107 reminds of the "gold" in fairy tales. That its worth is next to nothing is seen from the descending progression of coins at DhA III.108 = VvA 77, which, beginning with kahāpaṇa, aḍḍha-pāda, places māsaka and kāhaṇikā next to mudhā "gratis." It only "counts" when it amounts to 5 māsakas. - Vin III.47, 67; IV.226 (pañca-); J I.112 (aḍḍha-māsakaṃ na agghati is worth nothing); IV.107; V.135 (first a rain of flowers, then of māsakas, then kahāpaṇas); DhA II.29 (pañca-m.-mattaṃ a sum of 5 m.); PvA 282 (m+aḍḍha- half-pennies and farthings, as children's pocket-money).

Kākaṇa (nt.) [kā (for kad-) + kaṇa = less than a particle] a coin of very small value Sdhp 514.
Kākaṇikā (f.) = prec. J I.120, 419; VI.346; DA I.212; DhA I.391; VvA 77 = DhA III.108. From the latter passages its monetary value in the opinion of the Commentator may be guessed at as being 1/8 of a kahāpaṇa; it occurs here in a descending line where each succeeding coin marks half the value of the preceding one, viz., kahāpaṇa, aḍḍha, pāda, māsaka, kākaṇikā, upon which follows mudhā "for nothing." -agghanaka "not even a farthing's worth," worth next to nothing J VI.346.

See also: Lilavati Definitions for more on the weight of these coins.




Derived from an ancient Celtic unit and adopted by the Romans as the leuga, the league became a common unit of measurement throughout western Europe. It was intended to represent, roughly, the distance a person could walk in an hour. The Celtic unit seems to have been rather short (about 1.5 Roman miles, which is roughly 1.4 statute miles or 2275 meters), but the unit grew longer over time. In many cases it was equal to 3 miles, using whatever version of the mile was current. At sea, the league was most often equal to 3 nautical miles, which is 1/20 degree [2], 3.45 statute miles, or exactly 5556 meters. In the U.S. and Britain, standard practice is to define the league to be 3 statute miles (about 4828.03 meters) on land or 3 nautical miles at sea.[1]




A measure of distance: the amount that could be travelled in one day with one yoke (two) of oxen, or about 7 miles

See also: Lilavati Definitions for more on the Yojana and measures of distance.

Yoke6: OED: One-fourth of a suling, about 50 or 60 acres (cf. oxgang as 1/8 of a plough-land); hence, later, applied vaguely to small manors. (Cf. yoklet.) Kent.




A measure of distance: about 1/4 of a Yojana, or 1-3/4 miles.




A measure of distance/length: Equal to 20 yaṭṭhis, or 140 cubits (@18") or 210 feet




A measure of length. The length of a staff or goad or the stalk of the sugar cane (to cane): working back from Usabha, equal to about 10 feet





A measure of length: the distance between the tip of the forefinger to the end of the elbow.





A measure of length: the distance between the tip of the little finger to the tip of the thumb with the fingers stretched wide.





A measure of length: the distance of the width of four "men's" fingers about 3" later taken to be the width of the hand at the palm: (but now exactly) 4".



Fathom [Vyāma]


A measure of length: the distance between the fingers when the arms are extended as far as a man can reach. Today: 2 yards



Magadha Karika

1 Magadhese Kharika

A measure of volume: A twelve-edged [solid] with width, length, and height measured by one hasta is called a cubic hasta. In the case of grain and so forth, a measure [equal to] a cubic hasta is called in treatises a "Magadha kharika".[2]
1 Hasta = 4x6 Angulas (Forethumb)
1 Angula = 8 Yavodaras (width of a barlycorn)
1 Barlycorn width = 1/6th Inch
1 Angula = 1.333 Inches
1 Hasta = 31.992 Inches
1 Cubic Hasta = 31.992 X 31.992 X 31.992" = 32743 cubic inches
Which, for purposes of measureing the length of a kappa is reconed to hold approximately: 103,959,025 sesame seeds.



Nāḷikā (f.) [Sanskrit nāḍikā andnālikā] a stalk, shaft; a tube, pipe or cylinder for holding anything; a small measure of capacity Vin II.116 (sūci-, cp. sūcighara, needle-case); D I.7 ( = bhesajja- DA I.89); A I.210; J I.123 (taṇḍula- a nāḷi full of rice); VI.366 (aḍḍha-n-matta); Nd2 229. Cp. pa-. -odana a nāḷi measure of boiled rice S I.82; DhA IV.17; -gabbha an (inner) room of tubular shape Vin II.152.[PED]

Doṇa [Sanskrit droṇa (nt.) conn. with *dere*o tree, wood, wooden, see dabbi and dāru and cp. Sanskrit druṇī pail] a wooden pail, vat, trough; usually as measure of capacity (4 āḷhaka generally) Pv IV.333 (mitāni sukhadukkhāni donehi piṭakehi). taṇḍula- a doṇa of rice DhA III.264; IV.15. At J II.367 doṇa is used elliptically for doṇamāpaka (see below).
-pāka of which a d. full is cooked, a doṇa measure of food S I.81; DhA II.8.
-māpaka (mahāmatta) (a higher official) supervising the measuring of the doṇa-revenue (of rice) J II.367, 378, 381; DhA IV.88;
-mita a d. measure full D I.54; M I.518.[PED]

Āḷhaka (m. and nt.) [Sanskrit āḍhaka, from *āḍha probably meaning "grain"] a certain measure of capacity, originally for grain; in older texts usually applied to a liquid measure (udaka-). Its size is given by Bdhgh. at SnA 476 as follows: "cattāro patthā āḷhakāni doṇaṃ etc." - udakāḷhaka S V.400; A II.55 = III.337; VvA 155.[PED]


[1]How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement

[2]Brown University, Department of Mathematics, History of Mathematics, See: Lilavati Definitions.

[3]On the Mashaka we have something: (From: Early Monetary Systems of Lanka (Ceylon))Some rock inscriptions refer to a relationship between money and weights. The famous 'Vessagiri' inscription refers to an instance where King Dappula V(l0th Century A.D.) paid or agreed to pay by means of 'kalan' and 'aka' for the construction of a dagoba. The following table of weights as given in the `Abhidhanappadipika', a book written in the 12th Century A.D. may be considered as relevant.

4      Paddy seeds = 1 Gunja
2      Gunjas      = 1 Mashaka (Masa?)
2-1/2  Mashakas    = 1 Aka
8      Aka         = 1 Dharana
5      Dharanas    = 1 Suvanna
5      Suvannas    = 1 Nikha
2      Suvannas    = 1 Pala
100      Palas       = 1 Thula
20      Thulas      = 1 Bhara




How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement

Common Units of Measure

Miscellaneous, to be researched: catu-nahuta ninety-four J I.25; VI.486;
catu-paṇṇasa fiftyfour DhA I.4;



Additional Miscellaneous Information Holding Area:

Dvi [Sanskrit dvi, dva etc. - Bases: I. dvi = Sanskrit dvi in dvipad = Latin bipes (from d*ipes), Ags. twifete; dvidant = bidens. Reduced to di (see B I.4) as in Gr. di\pous ( = dipad), Latin diennium and preference dis- (cp. Goth. twis asunder, Ogh. zwisk between). - II. du ( = dvi in reduced grade, cp. Latin du-plex, dubius etc.). - III. dvā (and dva) = Sanskrit dvāu, dvā, f. nt. dve (declined as dual, but the Pāli (plural) inflexion from base I. see B I.1); Gr. du/w, Latin duo; Oir. dāu, dā, f. dī; Goth. twai, f. twos; Ags. twā ( = E. two); Ohg. zwene, zwo zwei. Also in cpd. num. dva-dasha twelve = Gr. d(*v)w/Qeka = Latin duodecim. ] number two.

A. Meanings-I. Two as unit: 1. with objective foundation: (a) denoting a combination (pair, couple) or a repetition (twice). In this conn. frequent both objective and impersonal in mentioning natural pairs as well as psychologically contrasted notions. E. g. dvipad (biped), nāgassa dve dantā (elephants' tusks), cakkhūni (eyes); dvija (bird), duvija (tooth), dijivha (snake). See also dutiya and dvaya. - dve: kāmā, khiḍḍā, gatiyo (Sn 1001), dānāni (It 98), piyā, phalāni (Sn 896; It 39), mittā, sinehā etc. See Nd2 under dve, cp. A I.47 100; D III.212-214. - (b) denoting a separation (in two, twofold etc.): see dvidhā and compounds - 2. with symbolic, sentimental meaning: (a) only two (i. e. next to one or "next to nothing"), cp. the two mites of the widow (Mark XII. 42), two sons of Rachel (Gen. 30): dumāsika not more than 2 months (Vin II.107); dvemāsiko gabbho (Pv I.67); dvevācika; duvangula (see below). - (b) a few-more than one, some, a couple (often intermediate between 1 and 3, denoting more than once, or a comparatively long, rather long, but not like 3 a very long time): māsadvayaṃ a couple of months; dvisahassa dīpā 2000 islands ( = a large number); diyaḍḍhasata 150 = very long etc.; dvīhatīha (2 or 3 = a couple of days) q. v.; dvirattatiratta (id. of nights); dvīsu tīsu manussesu to some people (PvA 47); dvatikkhattuṃ soveral times; cp. dvikkhattuṃ (more than once), dutiyaṃ (for the 2nd time).

II. Two as unit in connection with its own and other decimals means a complex plus a pair, which amounts to the same as a large and a small unit, or so to speak "a year and a day." E. g. 12 (sometimes, but rarely = 10+2, see sep.); - 32: rests usually on 4 X 8, but as No. of the Mahāpurisa-lakkhaṇāni it denotes 30+2 = the great circle plus the decisive (invisible) pair; - 62: views of heresy: see diṭṭhi; also as a year of eternity = 60 kappas+2; - 92: as measure of eternity = 90+2 kappas = a year and a day.

III. Number twelve. 1. Based on natural phenomena it denotes the solar year (dvādasamāsako saŋvaccharo VvA 247). - 2. Connected with the solar cult it is used with human arrangements to raise them to the level of heavenly ones and to impart to them a superior significance. Thus: (a) as denoting a set (cp. 12 months 12 companions of the Sun) it is the No. of a respectful, holy, venerable group (cp. 12 sons of Jacob Gen. 35, 22; cakes as shewbread Lev. 25, 5; stones erected Josh. 4, 8; apostles Math. 10, 2; patriarchs Acts 7, 8; companions of Odysseus Hom. Od. 9, 195; Knights of Arthur etc.): of theras, accompd by 12 bhikkhus PvA 67, 141. 179 etc.; dvādasa koṭisatāni Sn 677; five groups of 12 musicians VvA 96 (cp. 5 X 12 cromlechs in the outer circle of Stonehenge). - (b) as measure of distance in space and time it implies vast extent, great importance, a climax, divine symmetry etc. 12 yojanas wide extends the radiance VvA 16; 12 y. as respectful distance PvA 137 (cp. 2000 cubits in same sense at Josh. 3, 4); 12 y. in extent (height, breadth and length) are the heavenly palaces of the Vimāna-petas or Yakkhas Vv 551; J VI.116; VvA 6, 217, 244, 291, 298 etc. In the same connection we freq. find the No. 16: solasa-yojanikaṃ kanaka-vimānaṃ Vv 671; VvA 188, 289 etc. - Of years: J III.80; VvA 157 (dvādasa-vassikā; in this sense also 16 instead of 12: so'asa-vassuddesika VvA 259 etc. See so'asa).

B. Bases and Forms-I. dvi; main base for numeral and nominal composition and derivation, in:
1. numeral dve (and duve) two: nom. acc. dve (Sn p. 107; It 98; J I.150; IV.137 etc.) and (in verse) duve (Sn 896, 1001); gen. dat. dvinnaṃ (It 39, 40, 98; J II.154); instr. dvīhi (J I.87: v. l. dīhi; 151; II.153); loc. dvīsu (J I.203; PvA 47) and duvesu (Vv 412).
2. as numeral base:
-sahassa 2000 (see A I. 2b) J I.57; VvA 261; PvA 74; also in dvittā and adv. dvikkhattuṃ twice and dvidhā in two parts. - (b) as nominal base: - (r)āvaṭṭa [Sanskrit dvih. cp. Latin bis] turning twice S I.32;
-ja "twice born," i. e. a bird J I.152 (gaṇā);
-jātin one who is born twice, i. e. a brāhmaṇa Th, 2, 430 (ThA 269 = Brahmājātin);
-tālamatta of the size of 2 palms DhA II.62;
-pad [Sanskrit dvipad, Latin bipes, Gr. di/pous etc.] a biped, man S I.6;
-pala twofold Vism 339;
-pādaka = dvipad Vin II.110;
-bandhu having two friends J VI.281;
-rattatiratta two or three nights Vin IV.16; also in dvīha two days (q. v.).
3. as diaeretic form duvi-:
-ja (cp. dija) "growing again" i. e. a tooth J V.156.
4. as contracted form di-: -(y)aḍḍha one and a half (lit. the second half, cp. Ger. anderthalb) Dh 235; J I.72 (diyaḍḍha-yojana-satika 150 y. long or high etc.), 202; IV.293 (-yāma); DhA I.395; DA I.17; Miln 243, 272; DhsA 12;
-guṇa twofold, double Vin I.289; Sn 714; J V.309; Miln 84; DhA II.6; VvA 63, 120;
-ja (cp. dvija, duvija) (a) "twice-born," a bird S I.224; Sn 1134 (d. vuccati pakkhī Nd2 296); J I.152, 203; II.205; IV.347; V.157; Pv II.124; Vv 358 (cp. VvA 178); Miln 295. - (b) a brahmin ThA, 70, 73;
-jivha "twotongued," i. e. a snake (cp. du-) J III.347;
-pad (-pada or -pa) a biped (cp. dvi-) A I.22; V.21; Sn 83 (dipa-duttama), 995 (id.) 998; Dh 273;
-pādaka = -pad Th 1, 453 = Sn 205.
5. as sec. cpd. form (with guṇa) dve- (and de-):
-caturanga twice fourfold - eightfold Th 1, 520 (-gāmin);
-patha a "double" path, a border path, the boundary between two villages Vv 5317 (-sīmantika-patha VvA 241);
-piccha having two tail-feathers J V.341 (cp. de-);
-pitika having two feathers J V.424;
-bhāva doubling kacc. 21;
-māsika two months old Pv I.67;
-vācika pronouncing (only) two words, viz. Buddha and Dhamma (cp. tevācika, saying the whole saraṇa-formula), Vin I.4; J I.81;
-sattaratta twice seven nights, a fortnight [cp. Sanskrit dvisapta] J VI.230. - See also der. from numer. adv. dvidhā, viz. dvejjha (and dejjha), dvedhā-, dve'haka.
6. as noun-derivation dvaya a dyad (q. v.).
II. du; reduced base in numeral and nominal compounds and dern:
-(v)addhato from both sides (a distorted form of dubhato q. v.) Vv 6419 ( = dubhato VvA 281); -(v)angika consisting of two parts Dhs 163; -(v)angula and dvangula two finger-breadths or depths, two inches long, implying a minimum measure (see above A I.2a) Vin II.107; IV.262; usually in compounds - kappa the 2 inch rule, i. e. a rule extending the allotted time for the morning meal to 2 inches of shadow after mid day Vin II.294 306;
-pannā wisdom of 2 finger-breadths, i. e. that of a woman S I.129 = Th 2, 60 (dvanguli-, at ThA 66 as -saññā);
-buddhika = -paññā VvA 96;
-jivha twotongued (cp. di-); a snake J IV.330; V.82, 425;
-paṭṭa "double cloth" (Hind. dupaṭṭā; Kanarese dupaṭa, duppaṭa; Tamil tuppaṭṭā a cloak consisting of two cloths joined together, see Kern, Toev. I.179); J I.119; IV.114, 379 (ratta-); DhA I.249 (suratta-); III.419 (-cīvarā); -matta (about) 2 in measure Miln 82;
-māsika 2 months old or growing for 2 months (of hair) Vin II.107;
-vagga consisting of two Vin I.58;
-vassa 2 years old Vin I.59;
-vidha twofold, instr. duvidhena M III.45 sq.; etc. - Derivations from du- see sep. under duka (dyad), dutiya (the second), and the contamination forms dubha (to) and dubhaya (for ubha and ubhaya).
III. dvā (and reduced dva), base in numeral compounds only: dvatikkhattuṃ two or three times J I.506; DA I.133, 264; DhA IV.38; dvādasa twelve (on meaning of this and following numerals see above A II. and III.) J III.80; VI.116; DhA I.88; III.210; VvA 156, 247 etc.;
-yojanika J I.125; IV.499; dvāvīsati (22) VvA 139; dvattiṃsa (32) Kh II. (-ākāra the 32 constituents of the body); DhA II.88; VvA 39 etc.; dvācattālīsa (42) Nd2 15; Vism 82; dvāsaṭṭhi (Nd2 271III. and dvaṭṭhi (62) D I.54; S III.211; DA I.162); dvānavuti (92) PvA 19, 21. - Note. A singular case of dva as adv. = twice is in dva-haṃ Sn 1116.



Nāḷikā (f.) [Sanskrit nāḍikā andnālikā] a stalk, shaft; a tube, pipe or cylinder for holding anything; a small measure of capacity Vin II.116 (sūci-, cp. sūcighara, needle-case); D I.7 ( = bhesajja- DA I.89); A I.210; J I.123 (taṇḍula- a nā'i full of rice); VI.366 (aḍḍha-n-matta); Nd2 229. Cp. pa-. -odana a nā'i measure of boiled rice S I.82; DhA IV.17; -gabbha an (inner) room of tubular shape Vin II.152.



Nāvutika (adj.) [from navuti] 90 years old J III.395 (-ā itthi); SnA 172.



Pattha2 [cp. late Sanskrit prastha] a Prastha (certain measure of capacity) = 1/4 of an ā'haka; a cooking utensil containing one Prastha DhA II.154; SnA 476 (cattāro patthā ā'hakaṃ).



Paddha2 (adj.) [cp. Sanskrit prārdha] half (*) J III.95 (probably = paddha1, but C. explinations as aḍḍha upaḍḍha).



Childers, A Dictionary of the Pali Language

RATHAREṆU (m.), A very minute measure of weight, a mite (Ab. 194).

RATANAṂ, ... There is a measure of length called ratanaṃ, equivuleut to the hattha or cubit (two vidatthis}; it must be the Sanskrit (Ab. 196, 268; Alw, 1. 76). At Mah. 128 the reading is I think ratanattayassa ratanattaṃ, the precioussness of the Three Gems.



Ammaṇam. According to Childers, A Dictionary of the Pali Language this would be about eight thousand acres.

Karīsa (nt.) a square measure of land, being that space on which a karīsa of seed can be sown (Tamil karīsa), see Rhys Davids, Ancient Coins and Measures of Ceylon, p. 18; J I.94, 212; IV.233, 276; VvA 64.

"Nikkha." Nikkho is a variable weight, equal to 250 phalas, which we may call grains.


Xuanzang born Chen Hui or Chen Yi, was a Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang Dynasty.
— Wikipedia
Born: 602 AD, Henan, China
Died: February 5, 664 AD
Books: Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, Cheng Weishi Lun, Treatise on groups of elements

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Time: Khaṇo vā layo vā muhutto vā; the Chinese traveller, Hiuen Tsiang (or Yuan Chwang), has the following note on these periods: The shortest portion of time is called a kshaṇa; 120 kshaṇas make a takshaṇa; 60 of these make a lava (sic); 30 of these make a muhūrta; 5 of these make a kāla; 6 of these make a day and night. Beal's Records 71. See Childers, muhutto.

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