Dhammapada: Wisdom of the Buddha — trans. Harischandra Kaviratna

The Flowers — Canto IV

44. Who shall gain victory over this earth together with the domain of Yama (ruler of the Underworld) with its gods? Who shall find the well-proclaimed Dhammapada (path of truth), even as the expert gardener selects the choicest flower?

45. The disciple will gain victory over the earth and the realm of Yama together with its gods. The true disciple will indeed find the well-proclaimed Dhammapada, even as the expert gardener selects the choicest flower.

46. Recognizing this corporeal body to be evanescent as foam, comprehending this worldly nature as a mirage, and having broken the flower-arrows of Cupid (Mara), the true aspirant will go beyond the realm of the Evil One.

47. The hedonist who seeks only the blossoms of sensual delights, who indulges only in such pleasures, him the Evil One carries off, as a flood carries off the inhabitants of a sleeping village.

48. The hedonist who seeks only the blossoms of sensual delights, whose mind is agitated, him the Evil One (Mara) brings under his sway even before his carnal desires are satiated.

49. As the bee takes away the nectar, and departs from the flower without harming its color or fragrance, so let a sage move about in the village.

50. Let the aspirant observe not the perversities of others, nor what others have and have not done; rather should he consider what he has done and what he has yet to do.

51. Like unto a lovely flower which is exquisite in color, yet lacking in fragrance, even so prove futile the well-spoken words of the man who acts not up to them.

52. Like unto a lovely flower of charming color and sweet fragrance, even so prove fruitful the words of him who acts according to them.

53. As many a garland can be strung from a mass of flowers, so should mortal man born in this world perform many wholesome deeds.

54. The fragrance of flowers does not travel against the wind, be it that of sandalwood, tagara, or jasmine. But the fragrance of the virtuous man travels even against the wind. The virtuous man pervades all directions with his purity.

55. Among all the fragrant scents, like sandalwood, tagara, the water lily and the wild jasmine, the fragrance of moral purity is foremost and unique.

56. That scent of sandalwood, tagara plant (and other fragrant things) is of little account; whereas the aroma of the virtuous expands in a greater sphere, even up to the gods.

57. Mara (the Evil One) cannot approach the path of the virtuous, the vigilant, and those who are emancipated through wisdom.

58, 59. As upon a heap of rubbish, thrown on the highway, a lily grows and blooms, fragrant and elegant, so among the ignorant multitudes does the disciple of the Fully Enlightened One shine in resplendent wisdom.

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