TEXT Again, he will discern the odors of all living beings, the odor of elephants, of horses, of cattle, goats, and so on; of men, of women, of boys, of girls, and of grass, trees, bushes, and woods; near or far, whatever odor there be, he will perceive it all and discern without mistake. He who keeps this sutra, though abiding here, will also perceive the odor of the gods in the heavens, of parijata and kovidara, of mandarava flowers, of maha-mandarava flowers, of manjushaka flowers, of maha-manjushaka flowers, of all kinds of powdered sandalwood and aloes, and of many mingled flowers - all the odors exhaled from such mingled celestial perfumes he will never fail to perceive and know.
COMMENTARY Of parijata. This is a very large tree said to be in the heavens and visible from anywhere.
• Kovidara. This is a tree said to be in the garden where the god Indra strolls.
• Of mandarava flowers, of maha-mandarava flowers. These are flowers of trees that are said to grow in the heavens. Maha means "great."
• Of manjushaka flowers. These are flowers that are said to bloom in the heavens.
TEXT And he will perceive the odor of the bodies of gods, the odor of Shakra Devendra in his Surpassing Palace, indulging in his five desires and disporting himself joyfully; or when he is in his Wonderful Dharma Hall preaching the Dharma to the gods of the Trayastrimsha; or when he wanders for pleasure in his gardens; also the odor of the bodies of the other male and female gods; from afar will he perceive them all. Thus proceeding to the Brahma worlds, up to the Summit of Existence, he will also smell all the odors of the bodies of the gods. Besides, he will smell the incense burned by the gods;
COMMENTARY Shakra Devendra. This refers to the god Indra.
• Wonderful Dharma Hall. It is located within the Trayastrimsha heaven, where Indra resides; a hall for preaching the Dharma. Though called "gods," the gods of the Trayastrimsha have not yet attained buddhahood, so of course they must hear the Dharma preached and practice it.
TEXT and the odor of shravakas, of pratyekabuddhas, of bodhisattvas, and of the bodies of buddhas - from afar will he smell all these and know where they abide. Though he smells these odors, yet his organ of smell will not be harmed nor mistaken; and if he wishes to discern them and preach them to others, his memory will not err."
Thereupon the World-honored One, desiring to proclaim this meaning over again, spoke thus in verse:
"The nose of this man being serene, / [The odor of] everything in this world, / Be it fragrant or be it fetid, / In full detail he smells and knows. / Sumanas and jatika flowers, / Tamalapattra and sandal[wood], / Aloes and cinnamon, / Odors of flowers and fruits, / Odors of all the living, / Odors of men and women: / The preacher, dwelling afar, / Smells them and knows their location.
COMMENTARY Cinnamon. This is the same as the fragrance of tagaras.
TEXT All-powerful wheel-rolling kings, / Minor wheel-rollers and their sons, / All their ministers and courtiers: / He, by smell, knows their location. / The jewels they wear upon them, / The treasures [hidden] in the earth, / The precious queens of wheel-rolling kings: / He, by smell, knows their location. / From the things adorning people, / Their clothes and necklaces, / And the perfumes they use for anointing, / He, by smell, knows their persons. / The gods, whether walking or seated, / Their playing and mystic powers, / He who keeps this Dharma Flower, / By smell, can know in every detail. / The scent of tree flowers and fruits / And the fragrance of ghee oil: / He who keeps this sutra, / Abiding here, well knows their location. / Mountain gorges and cliffs, / Diffusion of sandal-tree blossoms, / And all the beings there dwelling / He, by smell, can perfectly know. / On Mount Iron Circle, in the oceans, / And in the earth are the living: / He who keeps this sutra / By [their] smell knows their location. / Asuras, male and female, / And all their retinue and followers, / When they quarrel or play together / He, by smell, is able to discern. / Prairies or ravines where [roam] / Lions, elephants, tigers, wolves, / Bison, buffaloes, and their kind: / He, by smell, knows their location. / If there be a woman with child / Who discerns not yet its sex, / Male, female, organless, or nonhuman, / He, by smell, can discern it. / By his power of smell / He knows if the newly pregnant / Will succeed or not in being / Joyfully delivered of happy children. / By his perceptive power of smell / He knows the thoughts of men and women, / Their minds of tainted desire, foolishness, or anger, / And also knows the doers of goodness.
COMMENTARY Tainted desire. "Tainted" means defiled. This is because by defilement we mean that the originally pure, unblemished mind is dyed diverse colors as a result of various internal and external experiences.
TEXT All the treasures hidden in the earth, / Gold, silver, and jewels / Heaped in copper vessels, / By smell he can clearly distinguish. / All sorts of [jeweled] necklaces, / Of price beyond all knowledge - / By smell he knows their value, / Their source, and their location. / The flowers of the [various] heavens, / Mandaravas, manjushakas, / And parijata trees, / By smell he can clearly distinguish. / The palaces of the heavens, / Whether upper, middle, or lower, / Adorned with every precious flower, / By smell he can clearly distinguish. / The heavenly gardens, groves, surpassing palaces, /Lookout platforms, and Wonderful Dharma halls, / And those who take their pleasure in them, / By smell he can clearly distinguish. / Whenever the gods are hearing the Dharma, / Or indulging in the five desires, / Coming, going, walking, sitting, lying - / By smell he can clearly distinguish. / The garments the goddesses wear, / Adorned and perfumed with beautiful flowers, / As they ramble about for pleasure, / By smell he can clearly distinguish. / So is it in turn ascending / Even up to the Brahma worlds; / Those in meditation and out of it / By smell he can clearly distinguish. / From the heavens Light Sound and Universal Purity / Up to the heaven of the Summit of Existence, / From the [gods'] birth to their disappearance: / By smell he can all distinguish. / All the host of bhikshus / Ever progressing in the Dharma, / Whether seated or walking about, / Reading and reciting these sutra teachings, / Or, beneath trees in the forest, / Devoting themselves to meditation - / The keeper of [this] sutra, by smell, / Knows their every location. / Bodhisattvas firm of will, / In meditation, or reading the sutra, / Or preaching the Dharma to others - / By smell he can all distinguish. / The world-honored in every direction, / By all beings revered, / Who pity all and preach the Dharma - / By smell he can all distinguish. / The living who, in a buddha's presence, / Hear the sutra and rejoice together, / And practice according to the Dharma - / By smell he can all distinguish. / Though not yet possessed of a bodhisattva's / Faultless, Dharma-begotten organ of smell, / Yet this keeper of the sutra / First obtains this faculty of smell.
COMMENTARY Faultless, Dharma-begotten. This literally means to be born of the absolute, or sacred, Dharma; that is, born from a pure awakening to Thusness, or tathata, that is without defilement.
The Buddha next discusses the merits of the tongue.
TEXT "Further, Ever Zealous! If any good son or good daughter receives and keeps this sutra, and reads, or recites, or expounds, or copies it, he will obtain twelve hundred merits of the tongue.
COMMENTARY The merits of the tongue are of two types: the first is that food will taste delicious, and the second is that what one preaches will move others.
Concerning the first merit, it is natural for whatever one eats to taste good when one has a high degree of faith and calmness of the mind.
The second merit requires no further explanation.
TEXT Whatever pleasant or unpleasant, sweet or not sweet, bitter or astringent things meet his tongue will become of the finest flavor, like celestial nectar; nothing will be unpleasant.
COMMENTARY This is something that we can actually experience. A hermit or a devout Buddhist priest isolated deep in the mountains may eat wild grasses and nuts which ordinary people generally never eat and find these foods truly delicious.
Even in our daily life, when we are suffering or worrying about something, even the greatest delicacies may taste like sand, yet when we are cheerful and lighthearted, even a bowl of rice mixed with barley or a bowl of simple miso soup makes us smack our lips.
"Nectar" is the drink of the gods, and in addition to being spellbindingly delicious, it is said to bestow immortality.
TEXT If, in the assembly, he uses his organ of the tongue to preach, it will send forth a profound and wonderful voice that can enter their hearts, giving them joy and pleasure.
COMMENTARY A profound and wonderful voice. This means not only a beautiful voice, but one characterized by spiritual elevation, profundity, and subtlety.
TEXT and celestial sons and daughters, Shakras, Brahmas, and the gods, hearing what this profound and wonderful voice proclaims and the order of his discourse, will all come and listen to him; dragons also and female dragons, yakshas and female yakshas, gandharvas and female gandharvas, asuras and female asuras, garudas and female garudas, kimnaras and female kimnaras, mahoragas and female mahoragas will all come to hear the Dharma, to approach, revere, and pay homage to him;
COMMENTARY The order of his discourse. His speech is reasonable and coherent, and its order is persuasive.
• Dragons . . . female mahoragas. These refer to varieties of demons. They have been explained earlier, so we need not dwell on them here.
TEXT bhikshus also and bhikshunis, upasakas and upasikas, kings and princes with their ministers and followers, minor wheel-rolling kings and great wheel-rolling kings with their seven treasures and their thousand children, and their internal and external retinue, riding in their palatial chariots, will all come to listen to his Dharma. Because this bodhisattva so excellently preaches the Dharma, Brahmans, citizens, and the people in his country will follow, attend on, and pay homage to him to the end of their bodily life.
COMMENTARY Their seven treasures and their thousand children. In India a king of great virtue was said to be granted by heaven seven treasures and a thousand children.
• Riding in their palatial chariots. This phrase means "together with their households."
• Bodily life. This means the life of a being with form, that is, the lifespan in this world.
TEXT And shravakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhisattvas, and buddhas will always delight to see him. In whatever quarter this man abides, the buddhas will all preach the Dharma toward him, and he will be able to receive and keep all the Buddha Dharma and also to utter the profound and wonderful sound of the Dharma."
COMMENTARY From the fact that the buddhas themselves wish to see him, one can gather how worthy he is. Because the buddhas, one and all, turn toward him and preach the Dharma, their various teachings focus on him. Hence, he will be able to comprehend all the Buddha Dharma and receive and keep it. This is truly a wonderful state.