'Monks, what do you think, which is more: the little bit of soil that I have taken up in my fingernail or this great earth?'
'Venerable sir, the great earth is more. The little bit of soil that the Blessed One has taken up in his fingernail is trifling. It does not amount to a hundredth part, or a thousandth part, or a hundred thousandth part of the great earth.'
'So too, monks, for a noble disciple, a person accomplished in view who has made the breakthrough, the suffering that has been destroyed and eliminated is more, while that which remains is trifling. The latter does not amount to a hundredth part, or a thousandth part, or a hundred thousandth part of the former mass of suffering that has been destroyed and eliminated, since there is a maximum of seven more lives. Of such great benefit, monks, is the breakthrough to the Dhamma, of such benefit is it to attain the vision of the Dhamma.'
Editor's note: The breakthrough to the Dhamma (dhammabhisamaya) and the gaining of the vision of the Dhamma (dhammacakkhupatilabha) are synonyms signifying the attainment of stream-entry."
Taken from In the Buddha's Words, edited and introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi, a review of which can be read here: Review: In the Buddha's Words.
Blog notes: 'Blessed One' denotes the Buddha; Dhamma (Pali) equals Dharma (Sanskrit), which here can be understood as 'the truth of the way things are.' Stream-entry indicates the first stage on the noble path towards enlightenment.