Maitreya said that to hear the dharma is to open the door to liberation, and many students imagine that study in the form of hearing and contemplating the dharma will suffice as a dharma practice. It’s true that for those on the threshold of spiritual practice, to listen to and to read dharma is extremely rewarding – and an activity that should not be entirely abandoned by more seasoned dharma practitioners – but words are abstractions that rely wholly on centuries-old assumptions, making the language we are forced to use obscure and vague. Ultimately, merely to hear and think about dharma is not enough; we must also practice it. So, hearing, contemplating and meditating on dharma are all vital to our spiritual path, with meditation lying at its very core.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
from the book “Not for Happiness: A Guide to the So-Called Preliminary Practices”