ItivuttakaItv 24 Aṭṭhipuñja Sutta
The Heap of Bones

The Buddha explains how the bones of a single person, when accumulated in a single eon, would make a huge mountain.

This discourse was taught by the Blessed One, taught by the Arahant, the fully enlightened Supreme Buddha. This is as I heard:

“Monks, the bones of a single person, running on and wandering in this journey of rebirths for an eon, would make a heap of bones, a pile of bones as large as this Vepulla Mountain if there were someone to collect them and the collections were not destroyed.”

This is the meaning of what the Blessed One said. So, with regard to this, it was said:

The bones of a single person accumulated in a single eon would make a heap like a huge mountain—so taught the Great Seer.

This huge mountain Vepulla stands in the mountain-ring of the Magadhans to the north of Vulture’s Peak. Among the five largest mountains in Magadha, Vepulla Mountain is said to be the largest.

But when one sees with developed wisdom the Four Noble Truths—suffering, the arising of suffering, the overcoming of suffering, and the Noble Eight Fold Path leading to freedom from suffering—having wandered on the journey of rebirths seven times at most, then, by destroying all fetters, one makes an end of suffering.

This, too, is the meaning of what was said by the Blessed One. This is exactly as I heard.

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Itivuttaka 24 Aṭṭhipuñja Sutta: The Heap of Bones

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Further Reading:

  • SN 15.3 Another simile using tears to understand the length of saṁsara

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