Chan Master Sheng Yen

‘When some older people find out I became a monk at thirteen, they become discouraged, thinking they won’t have time to reach enlightenment. Nonsense. Remember, enlightenment can come in an instant. Is there a queue at the gate of Chan? Are you only allowed in one at a time? You don’t have to take a number and wait in line to achieve buddhahood. Do buddhas have seniority over others? Do buddhas compare notes on when and how they got enlightened? Funny as it sounds, some people go through similar mental maneuvers. “That person over there sits like a rock; she must nearly be enlightened. I’ve been on twenty retreats, so I must be closer to enlightenment than that guy, who is on his first one.” Do these thoughts sound familiar? It is never too late to start practicing. If you missed the first bus to buddhahood, the next one will be by soon. The important thing is to get on the bus and stay on.’ (Song of Mind)

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