Effortless and choiceless awareness is our real nature. But one cannot reach it without effort, the effort of deliberate meditation. Ramana Maharshi
I tell you no one can experience this birth (of God in the soul) without a mighty effort. Meister Eckhart
Even wanting to attain Buddhahood right away is something artificial. When you realize that you're producing all aspirations yourself and, without getting involved with particular things, remain just as you innately are, your own intrinsic nature will be revealed. Bankei
How shall I grasp it? Do not grasp it. That which remains when there is no more grasping is the Self. Panchadasi
Illumination means the realization that Illumination is not something to be attained. Hui-hai
We do not turn our attention to finding the obvious Seer but run about analysing the seen. We think there is something hiding Reality which must be destroyed before that Reality is gained. It is ridiculous, a great game of pretending. Ramana Maharshi
The following is taken from the Dialogues of the 17th Century Japanese Zen Master Bankei:
A MONK: It took much hard practice for the great Zen masters of the past to penetrate great enlightenment so deeply. From what I have heard, your own realisation also came only after many hardships. Someone like me, who hasn't engaged in any practice or arrived at any enlightenment, couldn't possibly achieve true peace of mind simply by perceiving the necessity of living in the unborn Buddha-mind and staying just as I am.
BANKEI: It's like this. A group of travellers, climbing through a stretch of high mountains, gets thirsty, and one of them strikes out and makes his way far down into the valley to fetch water. It's not easy, but he finally finds some and brings it back and gives his companions a drink. Don't those who drink without having exerted themselves quench their thirst the same as the one who did? Now, if a person refused to drink the water because he felt that doing it was wrong, there wouldn't be any way to quench his thirst. My own struggle was undertaken mistakenly, because I didn't happen to meet up with a clear-eyed master. Eventually, though, I discovered the Buddha-mind for myself; ever since, I have been telling others about theirs, so they'll know about it without going through that ordeal, just as those people drink water and quench their thirst without having to go and find it for themselves. So you see, everyone CAN use the innate Buddha-mind just as it is and achieve a trouble-free peace of mind, without resorting to any misguided austerities. Don't you think that that is an invaluable teaching?
[THE UNBORN: The Life and Teaching of Zen Master Bankei
: North Point Press 1984: p118/119]
So long as they make efforts they will not be sages (jnanis). Ramana Maharshi
Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance. Dr Samuel Johnson
You are awareness. Awareness is another name for you. Since you are awareness there is no need to attain or cultivate it. Ramana Maharishi
No one succeeds without effort. Those who succeed owe their success to perseverance. Ramona Maharishi
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Psalm 27.