This has to be put into the full sutta perspective connected with right effort:
- Effort required to begin a particular action (arambha dhatu viriya)
- Effort required to sustain an action in spite of obstacles (nikkama dhatu viriya)
- Effort required to continue till the completion of an action (parakkama dhatu viriya)
These are separate stages, and the ability to sustain is often stressed by the Buddha:
“Thus you should train yourselves: ‘We will relentlessly exert ourselves, (thinking,) “Gladly would we let the flesh & blood in our bodies dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, but if we have not attained what can be reached through manly firmness, manly persistence, manly striving, there will be no relaxing our persistence.”’ That’s how you should train yourselves.”—AN 2.5
Persistence follows faith (conviction)—AN 5.2. Also SN 48 Indriya Samyutta.
It has to be understood the Buddha’s teaching demands individual action, and that the Buddha stated it was not himself to focus on, but the dhamma.
276. You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way. Those meditative ones who tread the path are released from the bonds of Mara."—Dhp 20, 276
" "Monks, be islands unto yourselves, be your own refuge, having no other; let the Dhamma be an island and a refuge to you, having no other. Those who are islands unto themselves… should investigate to the very heart of things: ‘What is the source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair? How do they arise?’ [What is their origin? ]—SN 22.43