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Meditation is an essential part of the Noble Eightfold Path to Enlightenment. Right thought, right view, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration are all factors of the path. Right action right speech, right livelihood, form the moral foundation to develop mental purity.
In the Buddha's time, many individuals who met him had previously practised meditation to a high degree. Venerable Kondaññā, for example, had been striving as an ascetic along with the Bodhisatta for six years, and was present at the Bodhisatta's birth, when he was an astrologer who predicted his Enlightenment.
Others, like Anāthapiṇḍika or King Bimbisāra, who realised the truth on merely listening to the teachings, had developed mindfulness and wisdom to a high degree in previous lives.
In this current era, long after the Buddha passed away, it is believed that there are no such individuals remaining. If we had such good past kamma like Anāthapindika, we would have met the Buddha at that time. If we did meet him, we obviously failed to “get the message” properly, as we have been reborn again in this human existence — we are not in the celestial realms with Anāthapindika and Visākhā.
So, everyone born these days need to practise meditation. Not just occasionally, and half-heartedly, but regularly, intensively, and with an ardent desire to gain insight leading to enlightenment. The kind of meditation practised today by most Buddhist is mere imitation of the real thing. Sitting for fifteen minutes, then changing your position, or just falling asleep on the meditation cushion will never reach the higher stages of insight in a million years.
Even to attain the lower stages of insight such as knowledge by comprehension, requires ardent, and continuous meditation without a break for several days. A really gifted individual might gain enlightenment within seven months or even seven days (as promised in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta). Most will not reach it even in seven years or seventy years — they just don't practise hard enough, or they have some moral defects or they may hold wrong views, or they may not have a skilled meditation teacher.
As to practising meditation being of no benefit, that depends on how you measure profit. For one with worldly aims, meditation is largely a waste of time, except that it helps them to concentrate or to remove stress, so that they can do better work and so earn more money, gain awards, etc.
One who wants to gain enlightenment is not interested in worldly aims. If they accrue as a side-effect, then they can help others by using their wealth or fame, but that is not their aim. Renunciation of worldly aims is an aspect of right thought. Worldly aims are to be understood as a distraction from the path.