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Saɱyutta Nikāya
II. Nidāna Vagga
13. Abhisamaya Saɱyutta

Connected Discourses on the Breakthrough
Sutta 1

Nakha-Sikhā Suttaɱ

The Fingernail

Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Copyright Wisdom Publications.
Reproduced with permission.



[1][pts][than][olds] Thus have I heard.

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvathi in Jeta's Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

[2][pts][than][olds] Then the Blessed One took up a little bit of soil in his fingernail and addressed the bhikkhus thus:

"Bhikkhus, what do you think, which is more: the little bit of soil that I have taken up in my fingernail or this great earth?"

[3][pts][than][olds] "Venerable sir, the great earth is more. The little bit of soil that the Blessed One has taken up in his fingernail is trifling. It does not amount to a hundredth part, or a thousandth part, or a hundred thousandth part of the great earth."

[4][pts][than][olds] "So too, bhikkhus, for a noble disciple, a person accomplished in view who has made the breakthrough, the suffering that has been destroyed and eliminated is more, while that which remains is trifling.[218] The latter does not amount to a hundredth part, [134] or a thousandth part, or a hundred thousandth part of the former mass of suffering that has been destroyed and eliminated, as there is a maximum of seven more lives.

[4][pts][than][olds] Of such great benefit, bhikkhus, is the breakthrough to the Dhamma, of such great benefit is it to obtain the vision of the Dhamma."[219]


[218]The expression diṭṭhisampanna denotes one who has seen the truth ofthe Dhamma, beginning with the sotāpanna. See the closing paragraph of 12:27, etc. MN III 64, 16-65, 12, and AN III 438-40 list various qualities of the diṭṭhisampanna, e.g., being incapable of regarding any formation as permanent, etc., being incapable of parricide and matricide, etc. Spk glosses abhisametāvino: "for one who abides having made the breakthrough to thenoble truths by means of wisdom" (paññāya ariyasaccāni abhisametvā ṭhitassa). On abhisamaya, see n. 13.

Spk: What is the suffering that has been destroyed? That which might have arisen if the first path had not been developed. The suffering that might have arisenin the plane of misery during the next seven existences, and that which might have arisen anywhere at all beginning with the eighth rebirth — all that has been destroyed.

[219]Both dhammābhisamaya and dhammacakkhupaṭilābha signify the attainment of stream-entry. On the benefit of stream-entry, see Dhp 178.

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