Kimsila Sutta: With What Virtue?
translated from the Pali by
Translator's note: This discourse mentions the metaphorical notion of "heartwood" (sara) three times. Although sara as a metaphor is often translated as "essence," this misses some of the metaphor's implications. When x is said to have y as its heartwood, that means that the proper development of x yields y, and that y is the most valuable part of x — just as a tree, as it matures, develops heartwood, and the heartwood is the most valuable part of the tree.
"With what virtue,
nurturing what actions,
would a person become rightly based
and attain the ultimate goal?"
"One should be respectful
of one's superiors 
& not envious;
should have a sense of the time
for seeing teachers ;
should value the opportunity
when a talk on Dhamma's in progress;
should listen intently
to well-spoken words;
should go at the proper time,
humbly, casting off stubbornness,
to one's teacher's presence;
should both recollect & follow
the Dhamma, its meaning,
restraint, & the holy life.
Delighting in Dhamma,
established in Dhamma,
with a sense of how
to investigate Dhamma,
one should not speak in ways
destructive of Dhamma, 
should guide oneself
with true, well-spoken words.
one should go about free
Understanding's the heartwood
of well-spoken words;
concentration, the heartwood
of learning & understanding.
When a person is hasty & heedless
his discernment & learning
While those who delight
in the doctrines taught by the noble ones,
in word, action, & mind.
They, established in
what discernment & learning
have as their heartwood." 
1.According to the Commentary, one's superiors include those who have more wisdom than oneself, more skill in concentration and other aspects of the path than oneself, and those senior to oneself.
2.The Commentary says that the right time to see a teacher is when one is overcome with passion, aversion, and delusion, and cannot find a way out on one's own. This echoes a passage in AN 6.26, in which Ven. Maha Kaccana says that the right time to visit a "monk worthy of esteem" is when one needs help in overcoming any of the five hindrances or when one doesn't yet have an appropriate theme to focus on to put an end to the mind's fermentations.
3.The Commentary equates "words destructive of the Dhamma" with "animal talk." See the discussion under Pacittiya 85 in The Buddhist Monastic Code.
4.The heartwood of learning & discernment is release.
translated from the Pali by
John D. Ireland
"By developing what habit, what conduct, what actions may man be correctly established in and arrive at the highest goal?
"He should respect his elders and not be envious of them. He should know the right time for seeing his teacher.  If a talk on Dhamma has started he should know the value of the opportunity and should listen carefully to the well-spoken words. 
"When the time is right let him go to his teacher's presence, unassuming, putting aside stubbornness. Let him keep in mind and practice (what he has learned): the meaning and the text (of the Teaching), self-control and (the other virtues of) the Holy Life.  Delighting in the Dhamma, devoted to the Dhamma, established in the Dhamma, skilled in investigating the Dhamma,  let him not indulge in talk harmful to the (practice of) Dhamma. Let him be guided by well-spoken truths.
"Abandoning the uttering of laughter and lamentations; giving up anger, fraud, hypocrisy, longing, conceit, violence, harshness, moral taints and infatuation; let him live without pride, self controlled. Understanding is essential (for listening) to a well-spoken word. Learning and understanding are essential to meditation, but a man who is hasty and heedless does not increase his wisdom and learning.
"Those who are devoted to the Dhamma made known by the Noble Ones (ariya) are unsurpassed in speech, thought and action. They are established in peace, gentleness and concentration, and have reached the essence of learning and wisdom."
1.That is, when needing their advice for dispelling mental defilements.
2.The phrase "well-spoken" (subhasita) is a technical term in the Pali canon. It refers to sayings connected with Dhamma and concerning one's well-being, happiness and progress on the path.
3.The rendering follows the Commentary.
4.Or, "having discriminative knowledge of the Dhamma."