II. Nidāna Vagga
The Tip of the Fingernail
Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Provenance, terms and conditons
[pts][wp][bd] Then the Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monks, "What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?"
[pts][wp][bd] "The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail when compared with the great earth."
[pts][wp][bd] "In the same way, monks, for a disciple of the noble ones who is consummate in view, an individual who has broken through [to stream-entry], the suffering and stress that is totally ended and extinguished is far greater. That which remains in the state of having at most seven remaining lifetimes is next to nothing: it's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth, when compared with the previous mass of suffering.