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Samyutta Nikaya
Sacca Saṁyutta

56.31 Siṁsapā Sutta
In the Indian Rosewood Forest

There are many things that the Buddha did not teach us because they are irrelevant, unbeneficial and do not lead to Nibbāna.

In those days the Buddha was living in the city of Kosambī, in an Indian rosewood forest. Then the Buddha picked up a few rosewood leaves in his hand and asked the monks, “What do you think, monks? Which is more, the few leaves in my hand, or those in the forest around me?”

“Bhante, the few leaves in your hand are a tiny amount. There are far more leaves in the forest around.”

“Monks, in the same way, there is much more that I have directly realized but have not taught to you. What I have taught is a tiny amount. Why haven’t I taught it? Because it’s not beneficial or relevant to the basics of the spiritual life. It doesn’t lead to detachment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, enlightenment, and Nibbāna. That’s why I haven’t taught it.

“Monks, what have I taught? I have taught, ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the path that leads to the cessation of suffering.’

“Monks, why have I taught this? Because it’s beneficial and relevant to the basics of the spiritual life. It leads to detachment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, enlightenment, and Nibbāna. That’s why I’ve taught it.

“Therefore, monks, you should make an effort to understand: ‘This is suffering.’ You should make an effort to understand: ‘This is the origin of suffering.’ You should make an effort to understand: ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’ You should make an effort to understand: ‘This is the path that leads to the cessation of suffering.’”

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Saṁyutta Nikāya 56.31 Siṁsapā Sutta: In the Indian Rosewood Forest

Explore other suttas with this simile:

Questions for Reflection:

The next time you go to a forest, pick up some leaves and look around remembering this simile.

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