illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)
A fellow went to a Zen master and asked “If I work very hard, how soon can I be enlightened?”
The Zen master looked him up and down and said “Ten years.”
The fellow said “No, listen, I mean if I really work at it, how long…”
The Zen master cut him off: “I’m sorry. I misjudged. Twenty years.”
”Wait!” said the young man, “You don’t understand! I’m…”
“Thirty years” said the Zen master.
image: bronze figure of Mahakasyapa (Ming dynasty)… Mahākāśyapa, a key figure according to the Theravāda tradition but also the first patriarch of Zen…