There's an old warning against confusing the great wonderful Absolute Truth with the teacher which goes, "Don't confuse the finger pointing to the moon with the moon." It's as if a fellow came along who pointed to the moon and we just stared at this gentle, kind Oriental man in his brown robe and went, "Wow, far out!" and then he fell over dead and we cried and said words of praise about him and walked off talking about him and never noticed the moon. So here we are all walking around in the moonlight, mumbling and grumbling and bumping into each other. We are a silly lot.
Another thing we do when we go on babbling about how great our teacher's understanding was, is we imply that we are qualified to appraise their understanding. This seems arrogant. When I first met Katagiri and watched him fiddling with his pencil and wondered if an enlightened person would do that and he told me that a teacher was beyond the students judgement, he wasn't telling me that he and Suzuki were beyond karma or making mistakes. He didn't mean that they could have a burglary ring going that I should ignore because their every act was perfect buddha dharma. To me, what he was saying was, "Don't look at me, look at the moon."
We do not know what their understanding was. There is no reason to say they were enlightened, whatever that means, or that they were anything other than our spiritual friends or good friends.
What Suzuki and Katagiri learned and knew, I do not know. I learned from them to have confidence in zazen while sitting, standing and walking, as it is traditionally said. I am thinking and commenting on these people because that is the subject now, but in my life today, I am just as encouraged by family members and my mutually irritating fellow students and by living peers who have all sorts of ways and practices as by the memory of the Japanese teachers whom I have known and loved.