One of the things I have wondered about in Buddhism is to what extent is it useful to educate the mind? Is it actually conducive to the path to study the words of the Buddha?
In the time that the Buddha walked the earth, the suttas were not written down, and I don’t know of any sutta that actually encourages study. The suttas that I’ve read seem to mostly be cases of someone going to the Blessed One with a question, and then getting one single answer.
There are many suttas such as the Fire Sermon which state that monastics achieved exalted states on hearing them. So is it possible for us to on reading these suddenly be struck by the words and achieve?
Or does one need a living Buddha, can one only realise through some mechanism of transmission, and studying the suttas merely makes us knowledgeable.
There is routine influence from the media to wrong view, so it is necessary to study the suttas to acquire right view:
" “Monks, there are these two conditions for the arising of wrong view. Which two? The voice of another and inappropriate attention. These are the two conditions for the arising of wrong view.”
“Monks, there are these two conditions for the arising of right view. Which two? The voice of another and appropriate attention. These are the two conditions for the arising of right view.”
—Anguttara Nikaya 2, 125-26
In the modern context, “voice” includes reading. Knowledge of the suttas is necessary to exercise appropriate attention.
The Buddha described the method of sutta study. It entails using the ones that are understood and working out from there in a cluster formation (Majjhima Nikaya 95).
There are some long-winded approaches to the suttas, but the Satipatthana sutta is the basis for the direct path.