Look not for recognition
But follow the awakened
And set yourself free.

I've noticed something, though I'm sure I'm not the first, that may be peculiarly Western. Many of the larger westernized Buddhist institutions that have structured learning programs for lay people issue certificates of completion or even have written tests at the end and offer 'degrees'. I find myself taken in as well. In fact I'm strongly considering the FPMT's two-year Foundation of Buddhist Thought program. This, in my limited experience, seems unique among lay Buddhist programs. We must get our gold star for finishing our homework, it seems. The insight gained and the progress of mind made should be reward enough. All the same, assuming I complete the course, I'll happily take the certificate and hang it in my office. Does this make me a bad person? ;-)