‚When I was in China in the Zen monastery, one time I was reading the sayings of an ancient master. A monk from Szechuan asked me: What’s the use of that? What’s the use of reading?
I said: When I go home, I want to be able to guide people.
The monk asked: What’s the use of that?
I said: For benefiting all sentient beings.
The monk said: In the end, what’s the use of that?
Later I thought about this conversation and realized that studying the sayings and stories of ancient masters and expounding them for deluded people is of no use in awakening ourselves and guiding others.
If you sit and clarify the great matter and understand the essence, the power of this is boundless and awakening others, even without reading one word.
I think that is why the monk said: In the end, what’s the use of that?
So afterward I stopped reading the recorded sayings of old masters and just sat still.‘
From a talk of Michael Stone