Faith in the Buddha’s teachings may not be enough. It is like the faithful act of sitting in zazen believing we are getting somewhere when we are not. Inspiration should, also, go along with faith. We have to sense the power of inspiration from the teachings as complicated as they might seem in the beginning. They have to have a significant influence upon us, enough, so that we are willing to change, profoundly.
I may certainly want to change—who doesn’t? But if I am not in someways inspired beyond the level of just having faith in the Buddha’s teachings I may not have the ability to change very much. Inspiration, by the way, shouldn’t be confused with enthusiasm or the drive of a restless fanatic. With inspiration one becomes profoundly moved, enough to change. There is a positive quality to this. Something speaks to us from the beyond or it might be our better angel, still, the message, although arcane, is one of promise and not just mere hope.
We meet the inspired types occasionally like John Blofeld or Red Pine. There are others I could add to this short list like Charles Luk or Thomas Merton. In my own case I would have to say that inspiration moves one to change, inwardly. In the example of Zen Buddhism, I was moved to pursue what seemed, maybe to others, to be the impossible dream. But in my own mind and heart, the inspiration became so strong so as to ignore almost everything around me except this marvelous quest.
My inspiration, eventually, led me to finding what I must look for inside of myself. At that point I became relentless in my inward search for pure Mind. I had no other options except to become directly acquainted with this Mind. It became clear to me that Zen masters talked about an awakening to pure Mind. This further strengthened my resolve. If they could do it, then so could I.