Today at lunch, just me and Master, I asked Master about studying a certain course. We started talking about how people study so much.
This is how I remember it:
Nowadays people seem to study too much. They try to learn too much. Every time something new comes out, some new trend, they jump on the bandwagon and gain more knowledge, but they don’t do anything with it. Every Rinpoche or Roshi who comes, attracts large crowds of people. They listen and learn and file away the information to make them feel that they’ve achieved something. But how much of it do they practice?
The point is to practice. Buddha taught us how to Fang Xia, how to Let Go. The rest was just method and the premises that supported this conclusion. If you spend your time and effort practicing a single method, a single Dharma, before long you will get the results thereof. If you don’t get the results it means that there is a problem with the teacher who taught it, or more likely, with the way that you practice it.
The Path (Dao) is found in only in the present moment. You won’t find it in the Buddha Hall; you will only find it when there isn’t anyone there to find anything. The moment that there is only awareness in the present, there is no space for concepts of self.
So don’t worry about learning a lot of different Dharmas, just worry about nien fo (calling on the Buddha’s name), or whatever practice it is that you are doing. Concentrate your mind on reciting, eventually you’ll discover that there’s no mind reciting, and no-one noticing it.