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The Buddha on Flowers

February 1, 2008

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The Dhammapadha is a collection of Buddha’s teachings. It is in the Pali language, a variant of Sanskrit. It is part of the core buddhist scriptures called the Tipitaka. Tipitaka means three flowers (also termed generally to mean three collections, three baskets). Dhammapadha basically deals about life, happiness, misery, ignorance etc in buddhist perspective. Though being a buddhist scripture, it also has quotations from the Mahabharatha, Manusmruti etc.

Some of the beautiful verses in Dhammapadha discuss about flowers eloquently. Let me give a few examples here.

Leading life as a hermit is glorified in religions such as Buddhism, Jainism and in Hinduism as well. Dhammapadha says a sage should not crave for having things more. He should not indulge in disturbing others. Whatever is offered to him, he should accept it and should not cause trouble to his disciples/devotees or people around him. This is explained as follows,

यथापि भमरो पुप्फं वण्णगन्धं अहेठयं |
पलेति रसमादाय एवं गामे मुनि चरे ||

As the bee collects honey from flowers and departs without doing any harm to them or to their scent, similarly a sage should lead his life.

यथापि पुप्फरासिम्हा कयिरा मालागुणे बहु ।
एवं जातेन मच्चेन कत्तब्बं कुसलं बहुं ||

When you have a heap of flowers, you can make many different varieties of garlands. Similarly so many good deeds can be performed by a person who has born into this world. This verse relates human birth to flowers and gives us a meaning to life by relating it to flowers!

Similar to this, there is another verse, that says “even the fragrance of flowers, sandal wood etc. don’t travel against the wind, but the fragrance of good people travels everywhere”. A good man through his words and deeds pervades everywhere. In one other place, there is a verse saying, the lilly flower grows among the waste, rubbish. Just as the lilly, even if among the worst, the enlightened disciple of buddha shines in glory!

As against the popular opinion on buddhism as being a nihilistic one in nature, it seems it doesn’t entirely brush away the beauty of life. It does praise aspects of life. It puts forth thoughts that are synonymous and analogous to various Hindu – Vedic ideas. Hope I would be able to read and post more on Dhammapadha.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. sangs permalink
    February 1, 2008 3:18 am

    nice post ! hope to read more .however the verses in sanskrit were too small to read.

  2. February 1, 2008 8:01 am

    @Sang: welcome back. Do you read sanskrit? BTW, the verses are in pali (only I used nagari script).

  3. February 3, 2008 3:33 pm

    Good post! Looking forward to reading more posts on this one

  4. Sangs permalink
    February 5, 2008 3:48 am

    Isn’t it the same as hindi script ? at least it looks like that.I can read.I don’t think I can understand it ,though😛

  5. February 5, 2008 8:39 am

    Actually Hindi is using Nagari script. Pali, Prakrit are variants of Sanskrit… Learning sanskrit itself is a difficult task🙂

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