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Saɱyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
9. Vana-Saɱyutta

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
9. The Forest Suttas

Sutta 14

Gandhatthena (or Puṇḍarīka) Suttaɱ

The Red Lotus-blossom, or White Lotus

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by Sūriyagoḍa Sumangala Thera
Copyright The Pali Text Society. Public Domain.



[14.1][than][olen] THUS HAVE I HEARD: —

A certain brother was once staying among the Kosalese
in a certain forest-tract.

Now while there that brother,
after he had returned from his alms-round and had broken his fast,
plunged into the lotus-pool
and sniffed up[1] the perfume of a red lotus.

Then the deva who haunted that forest-tract,
moved with compassion for that brother,
desiring his welfare,
and wishing to agitate him,
drew near and addressed him in the verse: —

"That blossom, child of water,[2] thing not given,[3]
Thou standest sniffing up the scent of it.
This is one class of things that may be stolen.
And thee a smell-thief must I call, dear sir."

[261] [The Brother: —]

"Nay, nought I bear away, I nothing break.
Standing apart I smell the water's child.
Now for what reason am I smell-thief called?
One who doth dig up water-lilies, one
Who feeds on lotuses, in motley tasks[4]
Engaged: — why hast thou no such name for him?"

[The Deva: —]

"A[5] man of ruthless, wicked character,
Foul-flecked as is a handmaid's dirty cloth: —
With such the words I say have no concern.
But this't is meet that I should say [to thee]: —
To him whose character is void of vice,
Who ever maketh quest for what is pure: —
What to the wicked but a hair-tip seems,
To him doth great as any cloud[6] appear."

[The Brother: —]

"In truth, 0 fairy, thou dost know me well,
And kind compassion for me moved thy heart -
I prithee, fairy, speak to me again
Whenever thou dost see me do the like."

[The Deva: —]

"Neither[7] am I dependent upon thee,
Nor yet hath guilty deed by thee been done.
But thou, 0 almsman, thou thyself shouldst know
How thou to blissful destiny mayst go."

Then that brother, agitated by the deva, was greatly moved.


[1] Upasinghati: the compound form I have only found at Jāt. ii, 339.

[2] Vārija, 'water-born.'

[3] Almost equivalent in Pali to 'thing stolen.' It was, of course, a device of the fairy's to gain his (or her) end by shooting beyond the mark with this exaggerated figure. 'So occupied, he will get into sensuous ways, and cravings will arise,' the monitor thinks. Comy.

[4] Ākiṇṇa, lit. 'scattered,' ' heaped,' is by B.'s exegesis made to connote (a) impure, (b) hard, 'ruthless' or ludda, as in line 7.

[5] The distribution of these lines between the two parties is not easy. The Comy. makes no effort to distinguish, and only explains that it is they in whom is the capacity for salvation in this life who are meet to be admonished, not they who are 'past praying for.'

[6] 'Like the crest of a valāhaka' (cloud). Comy.

[7] The sceptical fairy judges that he will lean on his mindful monitor and live a slacker, and so 'I will not consent.' Comy.

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