I love language. I'm an English teacher by profession and have a deep respect for words, with their textures and nuances, their crevices and contours. This might sound like a paradox coming from a Zen practitioner, since Zen is so often understood to be suspicious of language. But if anything, Zen has clarified my love of language rather than diluted it.
For a while, I felt a distinct conflict between Zen's pointing to life-as-it-is, prior to conceptualization and verbalization, but I have found that conflicts needn't result in negation. They can result in deep affirmations.
Admittedly, language can be tricky, especially when we use it without critically examining it. The same, however, can be said about any tool, whether it be a chainsaw or a road map. They each have their own distinct functions, which needn't be problematic, so long as we recognize their limitations.
As I try to explore new ways of understanding and expressing the Dharma, I continually wrestle with the limits of the English language. For instance, "attaining" Enlightenment has always sounded clumsy to me, for it implies that we are achieving or acquiring something that we don't already have. "Realizing" sounds more accurate, as does "awakening," because they eliminate the awkward use of the word "Enlightenment," which is riddled with all sorts of unintentional baggage.
"Attunement" sounds much more exact than "attainment." We attune ourselves to our true nature in much the same way as a radio attunes itself to a certain frequency of radio waves. The waves are always present; the radio just isn't attuned to them. When it attunes itself properly, the waves manifest as sounds.
Similarly, when we realize that this moment is truth, then we actualize what we have been all along. Free.