This translation of this well-known story is from The Lotus Sutra, Burton Watson, tr. (N.Y.: Columbia University Press, 1993). Enjoy!
Do you think or believe that you have a priceless jewel hidden inside you? Even if you do, that won’t do you any good until you “realize” your divine, eternal nature for yourself.
That realization of our essence is the greatest human experience. It’s called by various names including “spiritual awakening.”
Realizing it is simple: just drop all thoughts in favor of thoughtless awareness. It’s the common addiction to compulsive thoughts that blocks Self-apprehension.
Typically, however, dissolving that blockage is difficult and requires a lot of practice. That’s why The Buddha’s last words were an admonishment to keep striving tirelessly. It’s false that ego reduction is easy, but, until we rid ourselves of ego delusion, which is attachment to all thoughts about ourselves, we remain poor and impoverished.
Do you want genuine wealth?
The good news, which can seem utterly unbelievable, is that we all already are everything we need to be to live wisely or well. Living wisely or well is living wholly without dissatisfaction. So, spiritual practices are not about gaining anything; instead, they are about “realizing” our true nature, which we already are.
Right now, at this very moment, you need nothing else to complete or fulfill you. You already are as “wealthy” (fulfilled, complete) as possible. Therefore, no future moment can be better than this moment.
Anyone unable to live well in this moment will never be able to live well at any future time.
The takeaway: Since completion or fulfillment does not lie in the future, drop the quest to live better tomorrow and focus on “realizing” the Being that we already are in the present moment. Spiritual awakening, which clear and direct nonconceptual apprehension of our own nature, is now — or never.