Focusing on step one; it says put your personal experience of the literal Dharma first - not the person who explains it for you. But in order to do that, one must have enough confidence or faith in the plain sutra text as authoritative as is. The fact that we (most of us) deal with translations and much innate ignorance is no excuse for fobbing off responsibility for our initial understanding to another.
Step One: Follow the [scriptural buddha] dharma, not the person [who dazzles with his spin].
No, it is not saying follow the literal words of a given text. Dharma does not live in texts.
Then the Tripitaka was a silly notion and Nagarjuna, Asanga, Chandrakirti, Je Tsongkhapa & hundreds of sages were fools to write or have their disciples write down their teachings and further advise the close study and pondering of said texts.
If "Dharma does not live in texts", then it does not live in the spoken word, nor the minds & hearts of those who speak it. Stuff & nonsense, say I!
As for Master Hui Neng, his bodhi came from hearing a verse from he Diamond Sutra; further his teachings were written down in a text.
The fact that the Dharma is beyond words & thought does not mean thought & words (written or spoken) are irrelevant or exclusively non-literal. As Je Tsongkhapa put it "No form of the Dharma is worthless, each and every element is needed for someone at sometime." Oodles of texts are full of literal passages that need to be practiced just with their literal, plain meaning.
"Form is emptiness and emptiness is form" says the sutra. It does not say, nor did Buddha teach, that emptiness is apart from form.