Attaining liberation takes work. It is like making jewelry. When you go to a jeweler, he has solid gold, solid silver, or solid brass lumps hanging around that are ugly and don't look particularly ornamental. But when you ask him to make a ring or a necklace or some earrings, he gets out a lump and begins to make something out of it, and it becomes a beautiful thing. Likewise, when you buy a car, you could remember that your newly bought automobile is not born out of a lotus; it's made in a factory. It may seem as if it's born out of a lotus, but that's not quite true. It is the same thing with buddhahood, which is supposed to be spotless and fantastic. To become buddha is a final inspiration; to become buddha—wow! But the Buddha did not come out of a lotus; he came out of a factory.
From Chapter Seven, "Meditation as the Path to Buddhahood," in The Truth of Suffering and the Path of Liberation.