Ox Herding at Morgan's Bay 12

The second picture describes the person who has come in contact with an enlightened master, or who has read about enlightenment in Buddhist sutras or lectures. He believes more strongly that Buddha nature is real, and that Sakyamuni Buddha and the great patriarchs existed. He realizes that those who attained enlightenment in the past were ordinary people like himself, and so he believes that he can attain enlightenment, too. He begins to practice with greater faith and diligence.

At this level, sometimes efforts are rewarded and sometimes they are not. At times a person will feel confident: "Yes, I can achieve enlightenment." Other times he or she will feel despondent: "I'm not a good practitioner. I'm dull and slow, and I don't have a lot of potential."

The person's practice will be erratic. Sometimes he'll practice hard, and other times he'll grow lax and drop the practice. But there are people who will always be firm in their determination to practice. What kind of person are you?

Student: Shih-fu, you speak about enlightenment, but today in America there are people handing out little diplomas saying, "If you follow my teaching, you'll get enlightened." The word enlightenment seems to have lost its meaning.

Shih-fu: I have always said we should emphasize the process, not the final result. In fact, the process itself is the final result.