Ja 86 The Story about the Enquiry into Virtue

In the present a brahmin seeks to find out if the king favours him for his birth, or for his virtue, so he starts stealing a penny a day from the king. When the king finds out he decides to punish him, until the brahmin explains his actions. The Buddha tells a story of similar happenings in a past life (full story).

1. Sīlaṁ kireva kalyāṇaṁ, sīlaṁ loke anuttaraṁ,
Passa ghoraviso nāgo, sīlavāti na haññatī ti.

It seems virtue is excellent, virtue is highest in the world, see the fierce poisonous cobra, virtuous, it was not destroyed.

In this connection, it seems virtue, virtuous behaviour that is reckoned not to transgress by way of body, speech and mind.

It seems is said because of what had been heard.

Excellent means most agreeable.

Highest means the chief, which gives all other virtues.

See means he speaks of putting the cause of his own seeing to the fore.

Virtuous, it was not destroyed means although being poisonous, because of just not biting, not harming, the virtuous one gains praise, and is not destroyed, is not completely destroyed. For this reason virtue is supreme.