Many practitioners do not put enough emphasis on the theoretical side of their practice. They are backed by such comments as Chen Xin’s “train ten thousand times and the principles become clear”. Without knowing the theoretical aspects to support the practice, however, it is not possible to progress beyond the superficial level.
Chen Xin also wrote, “if the principle is not clear stay with a knowledgeable teacher; if the path is not clear consult true friends”. The advice... is quite clear, that the main criteria for staying with a teacher is not his/her fame but the teacher’s knowledge, and his/her willingness and ability to impart the knowledge. Consulting true friends (observing and talking with serious practitioners) is a way of making sure you know the path you need to take to achieve success and that your practice stays on course, as very few people today stay with their teachers on a daily basis. Chen Xin continued, “When the principle is understood and the path is clear, add consistent practice and success will follow.”
The wider inference of “knowledgeable teachers and true friends” is that literature that are directly related to your discipline and system is your teacher and other supporting and complementary literature your true friends.