Saṃyutta Nikāya 12

Connected Discourses on Causation

55. The Great Tree (1)

At Savatthī. “Bhikkhus, when one dwells contemplating gratification in things that can be clung to, craving increases. With craving as condition, clinging comes to be…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.

“Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a great tree, and all its roots going downwards and across would send the sap upwards. Sustained by that sap, nourished by it, that great tree would stand for a very long time. So too, when one lives contemplating gratification in things that can be clung to, craving increases…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.

“When, bhikkhus, one dwells contemplating danger in things that can be clung to, craving ceases. With the cessation of craving comes cessation of clinging…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.

“Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a great tree. Then a man would come along bringing a shovel and a basket. He would cut down the tree at its foot, dig it up, and pull out the roots, even the fine rootlets and root-fibre. He would cut the tree into pieces, split the pieces, and reduce them to slivers. Then he would dry the slivers in the wind and sun, burn them in a fire, and collect the ashes. Having done so, he would winnow the ashes in a strong wind or let them be carried away by the swift current of a river. Thus that great tree would be cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated so that it is no more subject to future arising.

“So too, bhikkhus, when one dwells contemplating danger in things that can be clung to, craving ceases…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.”