Zen as an American institution is troubled, for two reasons:
1). The hierarchal model has caused many to become enmeshed in fame/power, which has obscured the intent to the point that it’s nearly lost. The ability to meditate deeply is accompanied by profound revelations on the nature of mind. If the figure at the head of the assembly merely repeats old tomes, shifts on their seat like a novice, or uses the koan as some sort of mystical bellwether, what good are they to anyone? What are they propagating? The sangha hinges on this precarious scene, some clinging to their teachers with religious fervor – for the practice continues regardless, and the conditions have appeared thusly, etc. – many more drifting to the sidelines, or completely out of the picture. The movement is at a strange juncture indeed.
2). The difficulty of formal practice, which no one seems to be addressing. With all of the colorful forms and pageantry, who’s willing to cut the cord? Zen Master Seung Sahn, for instance, would give you an enormous amount of practice to do if you asked for help, or else some form of instantaneous, blistering dharma combat that pointed back to the work of “attaining enlightenment and saving all beings from suffering.”