Kyogen, an accomplished Zen Master, said, “Enlightenment is like a person up a tall tree, hanging precariously from a branch by his teeth; yet his hands can’t grasp even a bough; and his feet won’t reach one. Under the tree there is another person who asks the meaning of Maitreya’s coming from the Tusita Heaven. If the person in the tree doesn’t answer, he evades the problem; if he does answer, he will fall and lose his life.”
True enlightenment is a matter of life and death. It requires total and remainderless effort, not mere intellectual understanding. Some students of enlightenment try to understand the different educations intellectually, and once they have perceived the intellectual content, they fall in the trap of thinking they have understood or attained the Ultimate Nirvana. That kind of understanding has nothing to do with a true Zen life (Awakening) and only causes more harm to the self-conceited individual.
A true Zen life is a life of totality.