( The Buddha // Nidānasamyutta )
Suppose, a person wandering through the forest would see an ancient path, an ancient road traveled upon by people in the past. They would follow it and would see an ancient city, an ancient capital that had been inhabited by people in the past, with parks, groves, ponds, and ramparts, a delightful place. Then that person would inform the king or a royal minister : ‘Sire, know that while wandering through the forest I saw an ancient path, an ancient road traveled upon by people in the past. I followed it and saw an ancient city, an ancient capital that had been inhabited by people in the past, a delightful place. Renovate that city, sire!’ Then the king or the royal minister would renovate the city, and some time later that city would become successful and prosperous, well populated, filled with people, attained to growth and expansion.
So too, I saw an ancient path, the ancient road traveled by the Perfectly Enlightened Ones of the past. And what is that ancient path, that ancient road? It is this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right actions, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. I followed that path and by doing so I have directly known aging-and-death, its origin, it’s cessation and the way leading to it’s cessation. I have directly known birth … existence … clinging … craving … feeling … contact … the six sense bases … name-and-form … consciousness … volitional formations (sankhara), their origin, their cessation and the way leading to their cessation. Having directly known them, I have explained them to all wise people who were prepared to hear it. As a result, this holy life, wise ones, has become successful and prosperous, extended, popular, widespread and well proclaimed amongst devas and humans.