[66] The Parable Of With The Mouth Reciting Ship-Sailing Methods Yet Not Understanding Their Applications From The Sūtra Of A Hundred Parables《百喻经》之口诵乘船法而不解用喻

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[The] Sūtra [Of A] Hundred Parables

Fourth Scroll

[66] Parable [Of With The] Mouth Reciting Ship-Sailing Methods Yet Not Understanding [Their] Applications


[In the] past, [there] was [a] great elder’s son, together [with] many merchants entering [the] ocean [to] gather treasures.


This elder’s son [was] good [at] reciting entering [of the] ocean’s ship-steering methods, if entering [the] ocean water’s places of whirlpools, eddies, submerged rocks [and] splashes, [it] should [be] thus rowed, thus adjusted, thus stopped. [He] spoke [to] all [the] people, saying, ‘[Of] entering [the] ocean’s methods, I know them all.’


All people, hearing [this] already, deeply believed [in] his words. Already arriving within [the] ocean, yet [to] pass much time, [with the] captain meeting sickness, [he] suddenly then died.


Then, [the] elder’s son immediately replaced [his] position, saying, ‘[It] should [be] thus rowed, thus adjusted.’


[With the] ship winding [and] spinning, not able [to] go forward to reach [the] treasure’s place, all [the] ship’s merchants sunk [into the] water and died.


Of ordinary beings’ people, [they are] likewise thus, [with] little practice [of] meditation methods, ānāpāna’s counting [of] breaths and impurity’s contemplation, although reciting their texts, not understanding their meanings. [With] all kinds [of] methods, truly without those known, personally saying [they are] well understood. Falsely teaching meditation methods, causing [the] previous persons [to be] confused [and] lose [their] minds. [With] inverted [and] wrong Dharma characteristics, [for an] entire year [and] accumulating years, empty without that obtained, [they are] like that foolish person causing others [to] sink [into the] ocean.

[Note 1: ‘Ānāpāna’ (安般) means ‘breathing in and out’, referring to ‘mindfulness of breathing’ (Ānāpānasati) meditation, with or without counting of breaths (数息) as a ‘clutch’ to help stay focused, so as to train in single-pointedness.]

[Note 2: Impurity’s contemplation (不净观) refers to meditation with sight or visualisation of the body’s parts being foul, so as to train in becoming unattached to the body.]   

[Note 3: Those who talk of principles only, without having actual and proficient practices, have yet to know the true meanings of both the principles and practices. Good teachers are those who know both the principles and practices well. With the many intricate problems of different minds, even ‘basic’ meditation, if learnt from the inexperienced without proper knowledge can be dangerous.]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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[65] The Parable Of The Five Hundred Joy Pills

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[67] The Parable Of The Husband And Wife With Eating Cakes Together As Essential


All Hundred Parables:

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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