[Attaining perfect Buddhahood in the Mahayana tradition] takes three and a half incalculable aeons. Now an aeon is an immensely long period for attaining Buddhahood. I’m sure that at a certain point some people asked themselves, “Why bother? What can it matter what I do in this lifetime if I have an infinity of time and space before I can hope for accomplishment?” This thought can really dampen a person’s enthusiasm.
Vicki Mackenzie, who wrote Cave in the Snow about Tenzin Palmo’s life, says that what inspired her to write the book was Tenzin Palmo’s statement to a Buddhist magazine that “I have made a vow to attain Enlightenment in the female form – no matter how many lifetimes it takes.”
Hat tip: Cindy Boersma.