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Verses 54 and 55: The Story of the Question raised by the Venerable Ananda

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 Sangha), 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:

Verse 54. The scent of flowers cannot go against the wind; nor the scent of sandalwood, nor
of rhododendron (tagara), nor of jasmin; 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;
but the scent of virtue surpasses all scents.

Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.


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