For the practitioner who wishes to attain liberation, listening to, contemplating and practicing the Dharma should not be separated, nor should one be overemphasized at the expense of the others.
One of the first steps is to listen to and contemplate the Dharma. It is very easy for beginners to get on the wrong track since they lack knowledge and experience. Without listening to, contemplating, and knowing about the Dharma practices, we cannot attain true liberation only by offering incense, worshipping the Buddha and reciting sutras. As beginners, we should not practice until we have studied for a period of time. Then we need to practice. Hinayana precepts also stipulate that anyone who does not possesses a pith instruction is not allowed to practice because practice will not generate any result without the pith instructions.
~ Luminous Wisdom Book Series 9: The Principles of Liberation