Enlightenment is real.
Talking about enlightenment is weird because enlightenment isn't the presence of anything. It's the absence of a particular class of error about how your mind works.
Most of human suffering is of the form "I am unhappy because such-and-such is wrong in the world". For example, "I am unhappy because I read in the news that bad things are happening to good people." But a baby has no concept of "news" or "reading" or "good people". That suffering was learned, which means the suffering is not a fundamental aspect of how our brains work.
Should you help the good people to whom bad things are happening? Maybe. But fixing the world is a distraction. It has nothing to do whether you, yourself, should suffer right this instant. A nurse does nobody any good by suffering alongside her patients. All that does is decrease the total happiness in the universe.
Certain types of suffering are unavoidable. Hunger is unpleasant. No amount of meditation will make hunger stop being unpleasant. If you are hungry then you should eat food. But most of human suffering is more abstract than "I am hungry". Think about the things that bother you. How many of them would be comprehensible to a dog or a cat?
Avoidable suffering caused by the mistaken belief that there is something wrong in the universe is called dukkha. Enlightenment is the cessation of dukkha
Can you think yourself out of dukkha? Maybe. But empirically, the most reliable way to end dukkha is meditation. What kind of meditation you do doesn't seem to matter that much. Vipassana and Zen both lead to enlightenment. They are so different from each other I would be astonished if they were the only paths.
How much meditation? It depends. They're a saying that enlightenment is an accident and meditation makes you accident-prone.
 The "good people" may include onesself. ↩