If a cup of tea is offered, its flavor can be described. Tea can be hot or tepid or cool, but the truth of the flavor and temperature is in the sip.
The temperature and flavor will be different for everyone. Commentaries cannot offer this experience no matter how well intentioned.
The original waking experience of Siddhartha seeing something, perhaps as mythologized in the morning star, is like tasting tea.
That which Siddhartha sees cannot be taught or transmitted. It cannot finally be categorized as Zen. It is an inherent human experience of the nature of self. And all must be passed through and dropped to get the taste.
We are free, every one of us. We are born free, and the bondage, restrictions,
and limits that we find in our life are self-created. The edges we perceive
have been placed there by the way we use our minds. There are fundamentally no edges, no boundaries. But this practice has nothing to do with believing. We don’t have Zen believers. It also has nothing to do with understanding. Understanding implies a separation between the knower and the thing that the knower knows. It has to do with direct and intimate experience itself. Your experience. Not Shakyamuni Buddha’s, not mine—yours. Only you can make yourself free. No one can do it for you. The only one with the power to do it is you yourself. “Only a Buddha can realize Buddha”—and it is nowhere to be found other than on top of the seat that you’re sitting on.
John Diado Loori, Mountain Record Of Zen Talks