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, countercurrents, 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