As much as some contemporary Zennists might not like this, Zen is really an introduction to the Bodhisattva’s world—not its actualization (not yet at least). Zen is, rightfully, an efficient and faster way to reach bodhicittotpada (generating the mind that is bodhi) after which, one becomes an authentic Bodhisattva who then works to attain full Buddhahood.
The study and practice of Zen doesn’t mean we are automatically awakened to the Bodhi Mind. It only means we are trying to become awakened. In light of this, the sermons of the Zen masters are intended to help the adept realize the Bodhi Mind, whereby he beholds his true nature which is luminous and undefiled by conditions. Zen, in this respect, is all about awakening which implies we have not yet awakened but hope to in the near future.
In a way, Zen is for very serious beginners who are committed to realizing the Bodhi Mind which has various other names such as pure Mind, the unborn Mind, Buddha Mind, the Mind-ground, etc. Being such a beginner is not without its problems, because the beginner might come to the conclusion that Zen is just about sitting in zazen or learning to live in the moment. Hence, there is no further need to read and study the various discourses of the Buddha. But soon it is easy to lose sight of the trajectory of Zen which aims at awakening/satori which is quite profound.
Zen is more than likely to fail the very serious beginner through its institutions when, for example, the teacher dwells on zazen as the means and the end. Zen fails, too, when the study and practice of Zen becomes extensively psychologized which aims at teaching us various kinds of coping skills. Repeating myself, Zen is for very serious beginners who see it a Buddhist version of Gnosticism. It demands of us that we awaken to the absolute, the Bodhi Mind.