The Bodhisatta was born once as an ascetic, and one day a goddess, having seen him smell a lotus in bloom, upbraided him, telling him he was a thief to smell a lotus which did not belong to him. Near by was a man digging up lotus plants for their fibres, but to him the goddess said nothing. When questioned, her answer was that in a man like the Bodhisatta, seeking for purity, a sin even as large as a hair tip showed like a dark, cloud in the sky. The Bodhisatta, greatly impressed, thanked her.
The goddess is identified with Uppalavannā.
The story was told in reference to a monk who was upbraided by a deity in a forest tract in Kosala for smelling a lotus. In great agitation, he went and consulted the Buddha, who told him the above story. J.iv.307ff.