>>I saw you post about how many Zen folks sit in a very cursory level of Shamatha and call it a day. I thought it was hilarious. There are ALOT of unqualified Zen teachers out there for sure.
--I trained in rinzai zen where there is great emphasis on shamatha/samadhi. Then when a rinzai student has a meeting with roshi, the roshi shouts or hits the student with a stick and bang, it breaks the samadhi... to make the natural state appear, and this makes the student have kensho, proper recognition of the natural state. In dzogchen, they figured out that you don't need to develop samadhi by countless hours of concentration practice. You can just shout syllables yourself and have the same benefit. This means that by shouting or what we call Dynamic Concentration in Pemako Sangha, anyone can have instant release of the samsaric body and instant access to their buddhanature. This is why I do not teach shamatha at all because why would you want to put your time in something that is not it?
But yeah most zen groups I've seen over the past 20 years, just cultivate shamatha and a lot of them confuse that for the natural state or as they say shikantaza, or how I like to call it buddha nature sitting. They waste their time for years and years, even decades and think that that's it. Sometimes they might get lucky and have a glimpse or even a shift but then it doesn't ring their bells to make them question their views and methods. They think that that's how it is supposed to be, that you sit for ten thousand hours, have a moment of kensho, then you sit another ten thousand and have a kensho and so on... It is incredible waste of time. Again, this is something that dzogchen masters such as Longchenpa have made clear for centuries, that one should not confuse shamatha or samadhi with rigpa or the natural state. According to masters, this actually creates a karma that is very detrimental to real dharma practice. I actually have story about this but will save it for later. This is not what dharma professionals do.
Yes, there are many zen teachers with papers in order, all right. Unfortunately, most suffer of these basic problems and since they have so much faith for their tradition, I don't see it will change any time soon. The greatest masters like Hakuin or Linchi make it perfectly clear that kensho is the way and that there is no other way. Ugi sent me a message yesterday and said, "Not of lineage holders, not of Lamas, not of Tibetans, but of liberated beings." I think that there are very few people who really wish to know themselves fully, wish to become buddhas, because so many practitioners are so attached to the external paraphernalia of traditions. It is an awful trap to be in... Anyway, having said that, this problem of subtle ignorance is very very common at all places.