Enlightenment is always sudden because it is not an achievement; it is already the case. It is only a remembering, it is only a reminding, it is only a recognition. You are already enlightened; you are just not aware of it. It is awareness of that which is already the case.
That’s what the state of enlightenment is — so alert that only the witness is real and everything else is nothing but ripples on the surface of the water. Everything is passing, everything is a flux. Only one thing remains and remains and remains, and that is your consciousness, your awareness.
In meditation, just someone bumping into you may become your first glimpse of an enlightenment, because it is a shock — a sudden awareness comes to you. Who knows? — just falling on the ground and breaking a bone may become your first satori, your first enlightenment. Nobody knows — life is mysterious. Enlightenment has happened in such different ways. Nobody knows.
Enlightenment is not something that comes to you. It is when pain and misery and anguish and anxiety have been understood perfectly well and they have evaporated because now they have no cause to exist in you — that state is enlightenment.
Zen believes in sudden enlightenment because Zen believes that you are already enlightened; just a certain situation is needed which can wake you up. Just a little alarm may do the work. If you are a little alert, just a little alarm and you are suddenly awake. And all the dream with all its long long desires, journeys, kingdoms, mountains, oceans…they have all disappeared in a single instant.
Enlightenment is not something to be achieved, it is just to be lived. When I say that I achieved enlightenment, I simply mean that I decided to live it. Enough is enough! And since then I have lived it. It is a decision that now you are not interested in creating problems — that’s all. It is a decision that now you are finished with all this nonsense of creating problems and finding solutions.
The word ‘enlightenment’ belongs to the path of meditation. The meditator says, “Enough is enough. Long have I suffered; now let me be free.” In fact, he cannot ask. He tries, but he cannot pray — because to the man on the path of meditation, even prayer is a bondage. Mahavir never prayed, Buddha never prayed. Prayer was meaningless for Buddha; he made all efforts to get out of it. So if you want enlightenment then don’t pray because prayer will create a bondage. It is a most refined love. The bondage is very golden, but it is a bondage.
Enlightenment happens when you have forgotten all about it. Don’t look even out of the corner of your eye, just in case enlightenment is coming and you will miss it. Forget all about it. You just enjoy your simple life.