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You’re one in 400 trillion, or pretty much a miracle!

To illustrate how precious each human being is, self-help author Mel Robbins said during a 2011 Ted Talk that the likelihood of you being born as you has been calculated at about one in 400 trillion.

Crazy. But also amazing!

This is the probability of you being born at the time you were born to your particular parents, with your particular genetic make-up.

Dr. Ali Binazir took it further. He attended the Ted Talk and wrote about it afterward, doing his own calculations on how likely your existence is. Dr. Binazir is an author and personal change specialist who studied at Harvard, received a medical degree from the University of California, and studied philosophy at Cambridge University.

He looked at the odds of your parents meeting, given how many men and women there are on Earth and how many people of the opposite sex your mother and father would have met in their first 25 years of life. Then he looked at the chances of them talking, of meeting again, of forming a long-term relationship, of having kids together, and of the right egg and the right sperm combining to make you. He goes further back to look at the probability of all your ancestors successfully mating, and of all the right sperm meeting all the right eggs to make each one of those ancestors.

He illustrates it this way: “It is the probability of 2 million people getting together each to play a game of dice with trillion-sided dice. They each roll the dice and they all come up with the exact same number—for example, 550,343,279,001.”

“A miracle is an event so unlikely as to be almost impossible. By that definition, I’ve just shown that you are a miracle,” he wrote. “Now go forth and feel and act like the miracle that you are.”

Buddhists have talked of the preciousness of this incarnation. Binazir recounted this Buddhist analogy: “Imagine there was one life preserver thrown somewhere in some ocean and there is exactly one turtle in all of these oceans, swimming underwater somewhere. The probability that you came about and exist today is the same as that turtle sticking its head out of the water—in the middle of that life preserver. On one try.”

Binazir decided to test the Buddhist understanding against the modern scientific understanding. He looked at the amount of water in the oceans, compared to the size of a life-preserver. He concluded that the chances of a turtle sticking its head out in the middle of the life preserver was about one in 700 trillion.

“One in 400 trillion vs one in 700 trillion? I gotta say, the two numbers are pretty darn close, for such a far-fetched notion from two completely different sources: old-time Buddhist scholars and present-day scientists.”

In the words of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche:
“Ask yourself how many of the billions of the inhabitants of the planet have any idea of how rare it is to have been born as a human being. How many of those who understand the rarity of human birth ever think of even using that chance to practice the Dharma? How many of those who think of practice actually do practice?
How many of those who start really continue? How many of those who practice continue and attain ultimate realization? Indeed those who attain ultimate realization compared to those who do not are as few as the stars you can see at daybreak. As long as you fail to recognize the true value of human existence, you will just fritter your life away in futile activity and distraction. When life comes all too soon to its inevitable end, you will not have achieved anything worthwhile at all. But once you really see the unique opportunity that human life can bring, you will definitely direct all your energy into reaping its true worth.”
At the end of our lives, are we going to wonder: “Did I have the courage to do more than just what came easily? Have I truly taken advantage of this precious human birth to cultivate wisdom and compassion, and to live in a way that is increasingly more free of greed, hatred and delusion? Did I have the courage to use this precious human birth to fully realize the Dhamma? ”
Once we realize the unique opportunity that being born human offers, we will surely want to direct all our energy toward fulfilling our highest potential as a human being.”

In conclusion: “The odds that you exist at all are basically zero!”


* The impact that I want to have is I want to teach people how to discover the power that’s inside of them. To live fully in the open and share themselves, who they are…. I want to teach people how to live with more courage because courage is nothing more than the ability to do things that are uncertain…. The impact that I want to have is I want to teach people a simple way to discover the power that’s locked inside them and then to unleash it and go out and live the life they’ve always dream of.





How to stop screwing yourself over | Mel Robbins | TEDxSF – YouTube

Books – Mel Robbins

The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life With Everyday … – Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins

Dr. Ali Binazir, Happiness Engineer

Ali Binazir

The Preciousness of Our Human Life – Vipassana Metta Foundation

Tibetan Wheel of Life–re-incarnation –


In Hinduism, dharma is the religious and moral law governing individual conduct and is one of the four ends of life. In addition to the dharma that applies to everyone (sadharana dharma)—consisting of truthfulness, non-injury, and generosity, among other virtues—there is also a specific dharma (svadharma) to be followed according to one’s class, status, and station in life. Dharma constitutes the subject matter of the Dharma-sutras, religious manuals that are the earliest source of Hindu law, and in the course of time has been extended into lengthy compilations of law, the Dharma-shastra.

In Buddhism, dharma is the doctrine, the universal truth common to all individuals at all times, proclaimed by the Buddha. Dharma, the Buddha, and the sangha (community of believers) make up the Triratna, “Three Jewels,” to which Buddhists go for refuge. In Buddhist metaphysics the term in the plural (dharmas) is used to describe the interrelated elements that make up the empirical world.

In Jain philosophy, dharma, in addition to being commonly understood as moral virtue, also has the meaning—unique to Jainism—of an eternal “substance” (dravya), the medium that allows beings to move.

Dhamma – Access to Insight

Quotations on: Precious Human Life – View on Buddhism

Incarnation – Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia

The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols

A Basic Buddhism Guide: On Reincarnation

Tibetan Buddhism: what is reincarnation?

Rebirth (Buddhism)


The Meaning of Incarnation – Patheos

Waiting for a Miracle! – Lessons for Living


Coming into being?