II. Nidaana Vagga
Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Provenance, terms and conditons
[pts] Staying at Savatthi. "Suppose, monks, that there were a pond fifty leagues wide, fifty leagues long, and fifty leagues deep, filled to overflowing with water so that a crow could drink from it, and a man would draw some water out of it with the tip of a blade of grass. What do you think? Which would be greater: the water drawn out with the tip of the blade of grass or the water in the pond?"
"The water in the pond would be far greater, lord. The water drawn out with the tip of the blade of grass would be next to nothing. It wouldn't be a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth - the water drawn out with the tip of the blade of grass - when compared with the water in the pond."
"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. That's how great the benefit is of breaking through to the Dhamma, monks. That's how great the benefit is of obtaining the Dhamma eye."