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Saŋyutta Nikaya
2. Nidāna Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
Part II.
The Book Called the Nidāna-Vagga
Containing Kindred sayings on Cause
and Other Subjects

20. Opamma-Samyuttam

Chapter XXI.
The Kindred Sayings on Parables

Sutta 2

Nakhasikhaṃ Suttaṃ

Tip of the Nail[1]

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by F. L. Woodward

Originally Published by
The Pali Text Society
Public Domain

 


 

[1][than][olds] Thus have I heard:

The Exalted One was once staying near Savatthi at the Jeta Grove in Anathapindika's Park.

[2][than][olds] Then the Exalted One, lifting up a little sand on the tip of his finger-nail, addressed the brethren:-

[3][than][olds] 'As to this what think ye, brethren?

"Which is greater,
this little sand lifted on my finger-nail,
or this great earth?'

[4][than][olds] 'This lord, is greater,
even this great earth.

A trifle is the little sand lifted by the Exalted One on to his finger-nail.

It cannot come into reckoning,
it cannot come into comparison,
it cannot form a fraction
when compared with the great earth —
this little sand lifted by the Exalted One on to his finger-nail.'

[5][than][olds] 'Even so, brethren,
are the beings that are reborn among humans
few in number as against the greater number
that are reborn elsewhere
and not among humans.[2]

[6][than][olds] 'Wherefore, brethren,
thus must ye train yourselves:­

"We will live earnestly"
- even thus.'

 


[1] Cf. above p.95 [SN 2.13.1]

[2] Somewhat arbitrarily the commentarial tradition judges that the greater alternative includes only rebirth in the four woeful spheres: — purgatory, animals, asuras and petas, deva-rebirth being included under the former alternative.


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