Lovely Flowers

 

Who conquers this world,
the world of Yama and the world of the gods?
Like a connoisseur picking a flower,
the good man chooses Dhamma,

The good man conquers this world,
the world of Yama and the world of the gods.
He is the connoisseur picking a flower
the disciple of Dhamma.

Knowing flesh is only froth,
like a dream in a desert,
the disciple transcends
the flowery arrows of lust.
Death cannot touch him.

Like floods that come and collect an unsuspecting village,
death claims the restless collector of flowers.

His mind is restless
after many flowers,
before he can have them
death is upon him.

Let the wise man live
in the flower of his village,
like the bee, gently taking honey,
but harming neither color nor scent.

It is not what others do,
or do not do, that is my concern:
It is what I do,
and what I do not do, that is my concern.

Lovely flowers without fragrance
Are sweet words without sweet action.

Lovely flowers full of fragrance
Are sweet words with sweet action.

Is there a limit to the variety of garlands
skilled hands make from a heap of flowers?
Is there a limit to the number of good deeds
a man may do once he is born?

The wind carries the scent of flowers only where it goes,
sandalwood, jasmine, and tagara fragrance,
but the fragrance of good men spreads everywhere,
their fame is endless.

Sandalwood and tagara are delicately scented,
and give a little fragrance,
but the fragrance of virtue
rises even to the gods.

And Mara stands helpless
before the clear thinker and perfect knower,
the good man.

Like the lotus softly fragrant and
soul-delighting,
rising clear from scraps of rubbish in
a wayside pond,

The disciple of the Enlightened Buddha shines
in perfect wisdom
Clear above the crowds of ordinary men
who do not see the truth.

source: The Dhammapada
image: Eddie’s Garden, Eddie’s Photos, Frangipani Summer 2016
please note: this is reposted from ETH October 2012 under the title “Flowers”

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4 thoughts on “Lovely Flowers

  1. mmm, delicious. I took in the fragrance of this poignant poem, Eddie, and will savor it all day. I love the embrace of life and all the beauty it holds, reflected in the many essences of flowers. Lovely post, thank you Eddie.

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