Chapter 5Exercise Patience

A well-known Zen Buddhist teaching story highlights the need to “practice patience” if one intends to make the most of his or her abilities, gain insight, and achieve happiness.

A young man approached the venerable master, seeking guidance. “If I meditate eight hours a day and study the Sutras four hours every night,” he asked, “how long will it take for me to gain enlightenment?”

“Ten years,” the master replied.

The novice was taken aback. “That long?” he gasped. “Well, then, what if I practice for ten hours a day and study for six? How long then?”

“Twenty years,” said the master.

“But how can that be?” the incredulous novice wondered aloud.

The master shook his head and sighed, “For someone who is in such a hurry, ...

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