The Thief of a Scent
Padumapuppha Sutta  (SN 9:14)

I have heard that on one occasion a certain monk was staying among the Kosalans in a forest grove. Now at that time, after his meal, returning from his almsround, he went down to a lotus pond and sniffed a red lotus.

Then the devatā inhabiting the forest grove, feeling sympathy for the monk, desiring his benefit, desiring to bring him to his senses, approached him and addressed him with this verse:

“You sniff this water-born flower

that hasn’t been given to you.

This, dear sir,      is a factor of stealing.

You         are a thief of a scent.”

The monk:

“I don’t take, don’t damage.

I sniff at the lotus

from far away.

So why do you call me

a thief of a scent?

One who

digs up the stalks,

damages flowers,

one of such ruthless behavior:

why don’t you say it of him?”

The devatā:

“A person ruthless & grasping,

smeared like a nursing diaper:

to him

I have nothing to say.

It’s you

to whom I should speak.

To a person unblemished,

constantly searching for purity,

a hair-tip’s worth of evil

seems as large

as a cloud.”

The monk:

“Yes, yakkha, you understand me

and show me sympathy.

Warn me again, yakkha,

whenever again

you see something like this.”

The devatā:

“I don’t depend on you

for my living

nor am I

your hired hand.

You, monk,

you yourself should know

how to go to the good destination.”

The monk, chastened by the devatā, came to his senses.

See also: SN 1:20; SN 9:1; SN 9:9; AN 4:263