Ānanda and the three kinds of scent
Translation of BZA 012. First version published in Buddhist Studies Review vol. 23-1 (2006).
Thus have I heard, once, the Buddha was staying in Rājagaha on the mountain Isigili.
At that time the Venerable Ānanda was resting, when, quietly, this thought arose in him: ‘Once the World-honored One spoke about three kinds of scent: The scents of roots, stalks and blossoms, and that there are no better scents than these. However [he said] these three can [only] be sensed when the wind is right, and can not be sensed against the wind’. Having thought like this, Ānanda rose from his seat, went to the Buddha, and having paid homage to his feet sat to one side. He said to the Buddha: ‘World-honored One! Just now, while I was resting, quietly, this thought arose in me: “Once the World-honored One has spoken about three kinds of scent: The scents of roots, stalks and blossoms, and that these are the best among all scents. However [, he said, ] these could [only] be sensed with the wind and not against the wind”. World-honored One, is there a scent that can be sensed both with and against the wind?’.
The Buddha said to Ānanda: ‘Yes, of course there is. In this world there is a good scent that can be sensed both with and against the wind. And what scent? If there in a village or a town a man or a woman practises restraint, does not kill, not steal, not commit sexual misconduct, does not lie, and not drink alcohol, then all devas and all those having attained divine sight will praise this person. Thus, if in a town or village a man or a woman keeps the five precepts, the scent of the precepts is sensed with and against the wind’.
At that time the Buddha spoke this verse:
Sandal and aloewood / roots, stalks and blossoms: //
these scents are sensed with the wind / no one senses them against the wind. //
The great man keeping the precepts / his fragrance pervades the world, //
his fame fills the ten directions / it is sensed both with and against the wind. //
Sandal and aloe wood / the water lily and jasmine; //
these scents are inferior / unlike the scent of the precepts. //
Those scents / do not reach far; //
the scent of the precepts however reaches everywhere / better even than the heavenly scents. //
One who takes the pure precepts / untiringly as the basis of his life //
abides peacefully without defilements / by correct insight attains liberation. //
Though the demons try to find him / they do not know his abode; //
this is called the path of peacefully settling / this is the purest path, //
forever leaving the many realms / giving up the samsaric worlds. //
When the Buddha had finished, the monks, having listened to what he had said, were happy and practised accordingly.
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「世尊！我獨一靜處，作是思惟： 『有三種香，順風而熏，不能逆風。何等為三？謂根香、莖香、華香。或復有香，順風熏，逆風熏，亦順風、逆風熏耶？』 」
「如是，如是，有三種香，順風熏，不能逆風，謂根香、莖香、華香。阿難！亦有香，順風熏，逆風熏，順風、逆風熏。阿難！順風熏，逆風熏，順風、逆風熏者。阿難！有善男子、善女人，在所城邑、聚落成就真實法，盡形壽不殺生、不偷盜、不邪婬、不妄語、不飲酒。如是善男子、善女人，八方上下，崇善士夫，無不稱歎言： 『某方、某聚落善男子、善女人持戒清淨，成真實法，盡形壽不殺、……（乃至）不飲酒。』 阿難！是名有香，順風熏，逆風熏，順風、逆風熏。」
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