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(66) READING THE SAILING METHODS

Once upon a time, there was a young man from a respectable family who went to the sea with some merchants to look for pearls. He had read all about sailing such as to know how to steer the boat, how to take the right direction and how to hold in good position when they had to face whirlpools, counter-currents, or rocks during the journey.

To everybody aboard, he said, "I know all about sailing."

Everyone believed him. It was not long before the captain of the boat fell ill and died soon after. He then took charge of the boat. When they came to whirlpools and rapid currents, he recited what he had read without knowing how to put those instructions into practice. The boat that was strolling and going round could not advance to the pearls place. Then they all drowned.

So are the common people. They have little knowledge of quiet sitting, of counting the breathings and of contemplating on the uncleanness of human body for the practice of meditation. Although they can read the scriptures, they do not grasp the meaning. In fact, they know really nothing about all the methods of meditation. They preach the wrong ways, pretending to be well acquainted with the right ways. Bewildered and diffident, the followers turn the characteristics of things upside down, getting nothing in return over the whole year or a number of years. They are just like those who drowned at sea by the stupid man in this story.

66口誦乘船法而不解用喻

昔有大長者子,共諸商人入海採寶。此長者子善誦入海捉船方法,若入海水漩澓洄流磯激之處,當如是捉、如是正、如是住,語眾人言:「入海方法我悉知之。」眾人聞已深信其語,既至海中未經幾時,船師遇病忽然便死。時長者子即便代處,至洄澓駛流之中唱言:「當如是捉、如是正。」船盤迴旋轉不能前進至於寶所,舉船商人沒水而死。凡夫之人亦復如是,少習禪法安般數息及不淨觀,雖誦其文不解其義,種種方法實無所曉自言善解,妄授禪法使前人迷亂失心,倒錯法相,終年累歲空無所獲,如彼愚人使他沒海。

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