Once the Blessed One was staying at Kosambī in the siṁsapā forest. Then, picking up a few siṁsapā leaves with his hand, he asked the monks, “What do you think, monks? Which are more numerous, the few siṁsapā leaves in my hand or those overhead in the siṁsapā forest?”
“The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the forest are far more numerous.”
“In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but haven’t taught are far more numerous (than what I have taught). And why haven’t I taught them? Because they aren’t connected with the goal, don’t relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and don’t lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to unbinding. That’s why I haven’t taught them.
“And what have I taught?
‘This is stress …
This is the origination of stress …
This is the cessation of stress …
This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress’
This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to selfawakening, to unbinding. This is why I have taught them.”
—Translator – Thanissaro Bhikkhu – SN 56:31