Akira Haraguchi, a former engineer from Japan, recited an absurd 111,700 digits of pi in 16 hours.
In an interview with The Guardian he explains his motivation for memorizing pi:
To me, reciting pi’s digits has the same meaning as chanting the Buddhist mantra and meditating. I’m actually trying to do more these days, making it a daily goal to recite more than 25,000 digits, which takes me about three hours.
According to Zen Buddhism teachings, everything that exists in this world - the mountains, the rivers and all the living creatures - carries the spirit of the Buddha.I’ve interpreted this to mean that everything that circles around carries the spirit of the Buddha. I think pi is the ultimate example of that.
The interviewer than asks, “In what way does pi give you answers to the spiritual questions you were asking yourself?”
All things in this world, including ourselves, are aggregate sums of atoms, which are made up of rotating electrons. The ultimate history of mankind is moving toward a happy ending for people of all races. The earth, the galaxy and the universe all rotate. In other words, I think rotation is the absolute truth. So as long as I’m thinking about pi, I think I can live a life according to truth.