Lobsang was new to the monastery. He had decided to take the robe in his twenties out of conviction rather than as a way of relieving his families poverty.
Shortly after his arrival, the abbot had asked him what his interests were in his old life. 'I like plants. he replied. 'Particularly flowers, and especially, roses'. 'So' said the abbot, 'could you bring me in one years time a beautifully scented rose?' 'I'll try' Lobsang replied.
Word of this spread around the monastery and Lobsang received a good deal of advice.
Well meaning people pressed on him large tomes with growing instructions and woodblock prints of roses, but they were mostly written in an ancient script he didn't know.
Others were less helpful and merely hinted that he was not up to the task.
The year rolled round and Lobsang saw the abbot sitting in the sun in the monasteries inner courtyard. Lobsang quietly approached the abbot and presented him with a deep red and strongly perfumed rose.
The cynics scowled.
One of the kindly scholar monks said smilingly 'how did you manage that with your lack of knowledge of the manual, Lobsang?'
Lobsang smiled back. 'I have a good nose' he said. 'I was born with it. I think we probably all are really'.
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