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Saṃyutta Nikāya
II. Nidāna Vagga
20. Opamma-Saṃutta

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

Sutta 2

Nakha-Sikhā 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 Sāvatthi at the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika'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?"

[176] [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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