The Venerable Ananda's Question
[Translated from the Pali by Daw Mya Tin,MA]
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (54) and (55) of this book, with reference to a question raised by the Venerable Ananda.
While the Venerable Ananda was sitting by himself one evening, the problem relating to scents and perfumes came to his mind and he pondered: "The scent of wood, the scent of flowers, and the scent of roots all spread with the current of wind but not against it. Is there no scent which would spread with the current of wind as well as against it? Is there no scent which would pervade every part of the world?" Without answering the question himself, the Venerable Ananda approached the Buddha and solicited an answer from him. The Buddha said, "Ananda, supposing, there is one who takes refuge in the Three Gems (the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Samgha), who observes the five moral precepts, who is generous and not avaricious; such a man is truly virtuous and truly worthy of praise. The reputation of that virtuous one would spread far and wide, and bhikkhus, brahmins and laymen all alike would speak in praise of him, wherever he lives."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Na pupphagandho pativatameti
na candanam tagara mallika va
satanca gandho pativatameti
sabba disa sappuriso1pavayati.
Cadanam tagaram vapi
uppalam atha vassiki
Verse 54: The scent of flowers cannot go against the wind; nor the scent of sandalwood, nor of rhododendron (tagara), nor of jasmin (mallika)2; only the reputation of good people can go against the wind. The reputation of the virtuous ones (sappurisa) is wafted abroad in all directions.
Verse 55: There are the scents of sandalwood, rhododendron, lotus and jasmin (vassika)3; but the scent of virtue surpasses all scents.
1. sappuriso/sappurisa: good and pious people; virtuous persons. The virtuous are the Noble Ones (the ariyas) and the virtuous worldlings (kalyana puthujjana).
2. mallika: Arabian jasmin.
3. vassika: Spanish jasmin.
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