I have recently concluded that if you wish to deceive people first control the means of communication. This will insure that the lie, or propaganda, will get to the masses, first, before the truth (truth always arrives late if at all). As a result, it will be next to impossible to convince the masses that they've been deceived. What we generally know about Zen Buddhism may very well be a lie only because the lie arrived first in a lecture at a Zen center, for example, or in a book such as, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki. It may also be true that we are more inclined to resonate with lies and deceivers than with truth or honest people. The reason for this I can only guess at. Maybe we have been overly consumerized to the point where we have developed a fondness for being deceived by clever advertisements.
Popular culture is where we find that the masses have been deceived the most; not accidentally, but methodically, step by step. To repeat myself, first control the means of communication. Next, make sure truth as no backdoor by which to enter and contest the lie. Close it off by any means. Dominate academia. Control their thinking with grants and money from powerful groups. Use peer reviewed journals as a means to censor and crush the truth should it appear on the horizon.
It has never ceased to amaze me but pop Zen is anything but Zen and, of course, pop Buddhism is nowhere close to the discourses of the Buddha. And since there is no back door to the media which perpetuates the lie, having been carefully taken away, one neither sees nor hears of any kind of criticism. In fact, truth has been so marginalized that only the lie exists. Nevertheless, truth is present in the background, but not apparent. If, for example, in regard to Buddhism, the New World Encyclopedia, says that "The thing we cling to most of all is our belief in a independent and unchanging self (atman), and this more than anything else is why we suffer." This sounds all well and good. We have, nevertheless, been deceived. The lie hits us first. But here is the truth. The origin of suffering (the second noble truth) is clinging to the five skandhas or aggregates which make up the human organism as a continuous living experience which be believe is our true self or nature. An just what is the first noble truth? It is the five skandhas—our psychophysical organism—these skandhas being synonymous with suffering according to the Buddha. No, the problem is not the atman but the five skandhas.
The greatest of deceptions in Zen is that it is about seated meditation; that by sitting in a fixed posture we are becoming Buddhas. Teach this as what Zen is, and it becomes difficult to unteach. What is Zen really about? It's about seeing our true nature, or the same, seeing our real nature (實性) or if you like, seeing our original mind (本心). What does formal sitting have to do with this? Nothing, directly, anymore than wearing robes or chanting a sutra. And who dares to teach that Zen is not based on zazen will be renounced even though when Hui-neng (the Sixth Patriarch) saw someone in full-lotus posture, he took his staff and beat that person until they got up!