Snp 2.8 Dhamma (nāvā) sutta: The Boat

Honor the person from whom you would learn the teaching,
as the gods honor Inda.
Then they will have confidence in you,
and being learned, they reveal the teaching.

Heeding well, a wise pupil
practicing in line with that teaching
grows intelligent, discerning, and subtle
through diligently sticking close to such a person.

But associating with a petty fool
who falls short of the goal, jealous,
then unable to discern the teaching in this life,
one proceeds to death still plagued by doubts.

It’s like a man who has plunged into a river,
a rushing torrent in spate.
As they are swept away downstream,
how could they help others across?

Just so, one unable to discern the teaching,
who hasn’t studied the meaning under the learned,
not knowing it oneself, still plagued by doubts,
how could they help others to contemplate?

But one who has embarked on a strong boat
equipped with rudder and oar,
would bring many others across there
with skill, care, and intelligence.

So too one who understands—a knowledge master,
evolved, learned, and unflappable—
can help others to contemplate,
so long as they are prepared to listen carefully.

That’s why you should spend time with a good person,
intelligent and learned.
Having understood the meaning, putting it into practice,
one who has realized the teaching may find happiness.


Read this translation of Snp 2.8 Dhamma (nāvā) sutta: The Boat by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

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