Lama Atisha was near a stupa and saw a man circumambulating the stupa. Lama said, "It's very nice you're circumambulating the stupa, but why don't you practice the Dharma?" The man was perplexed. He thought he was practicing Dharma. "I'm walking around this holy object. Isn't that creating virtue? Aren't I practicing the Dharma?" he asked Lama. So the man thought—ok, I'll do some prostrations. Maybe that would be better. So he started doing lots and lots of prostrations. A few days went by. Lama Atisha appeared and said, "It's very nice you're doing prostrations, but it would be even better if you practiced the Dharma." The man was again perplexed because he thought he was practicing Dharma. So he thought—ok, I'll sit and read some Dharma text. So he sat and read Dharma text. A few days went by. Lama Atisha appeared and said, "It's very nice you're reciting the sutras, but it would be even better if you practiced the Dharma." The man was totally confused at this point. Even reciting the sutras wasn't enough. "Why are you telling me I'm not practicing the Dharma? What is Dharma practice?" the man asked. Lama Atisha said, "Transform your mind and abandon the eight worldly concerns. That's practicing Dharma."
Ven. Thubten Chodron