The attainment of enlightenment is called "varjra-like" because it does not stand for any nonsense; it just cuts right through all our games.


Chogyam Trungpa - Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism


Even though I constantly tell you that you are already an enlightened person, you don't believe me, but this is really true. You are already enlightened. All we have to do is just practice.


Dainin Katagiri - Returning to Silence



When one is truly enlightened, one turns one's attention away from the mythical - metaphysical to the practical. Conversely, the safest path to enlightenment was to be found in the practical. . . It meant, rather, that identification and practice of a way of life which led to freedom from anxiety and suffering and the achievement of serenity in complete independence from outward experience . . . acceptance of things as they were rather than ascetic discipline and paranormal experiences.


John B. Cobb


But for Chuang this paradise is not something that has been irrevocably lost by sin and cannot be regained except by redemption. It is still ours, but we do not know it, since the effect of life in society is too complicated and confuses our existence, making us forget who we really are by causing us to become obsessed with what we are not.


Thomas Merton - The Way of Chuang Tzu



Enlightenment comes up first and it means to just be present. If you want to be what you want to be, be present. Just stand up straight, with stability, and then simultaneously your effort turns into practice. Then from this practice, the teaching will come up later.


First you should trust you, because you are you, but simultaneously you are already an enlightened person. We are beings embossed in the universe whether we trust this or not. It is completely beyond trusting or not trusting; it is super trustworthiness.


Dainin Katagiri - Returning to Silence



But the real point is that the taking up of the special conditions of spiritual practice is an appropriate expression of unity consciousness. A priceless jewel is of no earthly value whatsoever unless you can employ it, express it, manifest it. Likewise, an appropriate use of original, spiritual enlightenment is spiritual activity in its fullest sphere. Even if, in our spiritual practice, it appears we are trying to attain enlightenment, we are actually only expressing it. If we take up zazen (sitting meditation), for instance, then deep within we are doing so not to become Buddhas but to behave like the Buddhas we already are.


Ken Wilber - No Boundary


Spiritual perfection is not found in the fulfillment of any rigid blueprint. It is found rather in the surprising moments of meeting between God's active grace and our spontaneous willingness. All of us know such perfect moments. They are moments lived out of the heart, found scattered through the day like manna falling in the desert. They may be very simple and ordinary moments. Perfection is like that.


Tilden Edwards - Living in the Presence


One very important discovery from these Rorschachs is that enlightened practitioners are not without conflict, in a clinical sense. They show evidence for the experience of drive states and conflictual themes such as fears, dependency struggles and so forth. They are, however, less defensive in the awareness of and presentation of such conflicts. First enlightenment does not mean that a person becomes conflict-free.


According to the tradition, personal conflicts are actually likely to intensify between the second and third experiences of enlightenment. This contradicts one major misconception in both Western and Eastern cultures. It is often mistakenly assumed by Western students of meditation that enlightenment solves all of one's problems. Asian teachers know this is not so. But they in turn point almost exclusively to the remaining "fetters" or "defilements" that will be eliminated only with the attainment of further degrees of enlightenment.


According to the tradition, only certain defilements are removed upon the experience of First Path. What changes is not so much the amount or nature of conflict but awareness and reactivity to it. During enlightenment, the locus of awareness, in a manner of speaking, transcends conflict. Awareness "goes to the other shore" so that it is no longer influenced by any mental content. After enlightenment the content, including conflictual issues, return. In this sense, enlightenment provides sufficient distance, or better, a vastly different perspective, while one continues to play out the repetitive dynamic themes of life history. There is a greater awareness of and openness to conflict but paradoxically less reaction at the same time in an impulsive, identificatory and therefore painful way. Awareness is less caught up in the relative play of conflictual content or indeed any kind of content at this stage. For example problems concerning sexual intimacy are more likely to be seen as "states of mind." The individual may observe these clearly for what they are and thereby have more freedom in his/her possible reactions to such states. He/she may note the intense desire until it passes, like every other transient mental state; or he/she may act on it, but with full awareness. One reported effect of first enlightenment is said to be immediate awareness of any "unwholesome" mental state. Mindfulness is said to automatically intervene between impulse or thought and action in such cases. This mechanism of delay, combined with clear and impartial observation, allows a new freedom from drive and a new freedom for well-considered and appropriate action. In this sense, suffering diminishes while conflictual content nevertheless recurs as long as one is alive and has not yet attained subsequent enlightenments.


Daniel Brown & Jack Engler - Mindfulness Meditation

(Transformations of Consciousness)