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Samyutta Nikaya
Sacca Saṁyutta

56.48 Dutiya Chiggala Sutta
A Hole 2

The Buddha shows us how rare the arising of a Tathāgatha is with a simile.

“Monks, suppose the Earth was entirely covered with water. And a person threw a piece of wood with a single hole in it, into this great ocean. The wind from the east would carry it west. The wind from the west would carry it east. The wind from the north would carry it south. And the wind from the south would carry it north. And there was a blind turtle who popped up once every hundred years. What do you think, monks? Would that blind turtle, popping up once every hundred years, still poke its neck through the hole in that piece of wood?”

“It’s very rare, bhante. If it happens, then it may happen after a very long time.”

“Monks, that’s how rare it is to get reborn as a human being. That’s how rare it is for a fully enlightened Buddha to be born into the world. That’s how rare it is for the Dhamma and training taught by a Buddha to shine in the world. Now, monks, you have been reborn as a human being. A fully enlightened Buddha has been born into the world. The Dhamma and training taught by a Buddha shine in the world.

“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 end of suffering.’ You should make an effort to understand: ‘This is the path that leads to the end of suffering.’”

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Saṁyutta Nikāya 56.48 Dutiya Chiggala Sutta: A Hole 2

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