In this interesting transcript of a teaching by Lama Yeshe, he gives advice on how to integrate intellectual knowledge of spiritual practice so that it transforms into realizations. An excerpt:

The ancient Mahayana practitioners of India and Tibet would first listen to teachings and study deeply. When they felt they had gained enough knowledge, they would go into solitude and, avoiding all contact with other people, look completely within and experiment with inner realizations. It’s now necessary for you people to do the same thing.

What’s the point of listening, listening, listening to teachings, collecting words, but then not integrating what you’ve heard with your mind or gaining realizations? You’re not here to learn language from me! Your English is much better than mine. You’re not here just to listen and collect words; don’t believe that it’s only through listening to words that you can gain realizations. That’s a wrong conception.

You have to integrate into experience whatever you understand. Once you have gained experience and realization of one topic you need to go on to the next, which takes you further down the path. Without moving forward step by step, it’s impossible to progress; you can’t simply collect high-sounding words while leaving your actions down here on the ground. Collecting words that talk of flying to the moon doesn’t mean you fly to the moon; with words alone you remain earthbound. It’s the same if you think arrogantly that you can get higher realizations simply by listening to Lama’s words. Without actualizing that which you understand and integrating it within you, you can’t.

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