In Dhammapada IV 49 (“Flowers”) the monk collecting alms in the village is compared to a bee which gathers honey without damaging the flower. Is there any comparable sutta reference for laypeople who should accumulate wealth in a similar manner to the bee?
A similar phrase is found in the DN 31 Advice to Sigalaka. I emphasized the complimentary stanza. I don’t know of any exact matches about harmlessness.
The astute and virtuous
shine like a burning flame.
They pick up riches as bees
roaming round pick up pollen.
And their riches proceed to grow,
like an ant-hill piling up.
In gathering wealth like this,
a householder does enough for their family.
And they’d hold on to friends
by dividing their wealth in four.
One portion is to enjoy.
Two parts invest in work.
And the fourth should be kept
for times of trouble.”
Yes it’s not explicit, thank you. Unless the reference to nature (bees, ants) implies a harmless meaning. This would be an expression of the ‘natural order’ (niyama) in its aspect of temperature, seasons and other physical events. The three marks of existence are also such an expression (AN 3.134). The Buddha repeatedly drew a parallel between natural cycles and the operation of the mind (AN 3.33).