Authentic means something that is true and when I speak about authenticity in Zen, I am speaking about our own direct experience of true nature.
Buddha taught us that in order to realise our own true nature it is necessary to practice zazen meditation as it is something that is beyond words and concepts and can only be truly understood though our own direct experience.
Buddha always encouraged us to not just listen to his teachings but instead, through our own zazen practice, to go beyond his words and experience the truth of his teaching directly for ourselves.
We shouldn’t just parrot his words, we should teach others from our own authentic understanding by actually walking in his footsteps, by practicing zazen meditation and having the same direct experience of our own true nature just like he did.
We should be a ‘lamp unto ourselves.’
The teaching and the teachers are like signposts, they guide us on the Buddha way. They are the fingers that point at the moon but we must always remember to look beyond the fingers and perceive the moon with our own eyes.
When we practice zazen, we let drop the words and concepts and, within our silence, we are able to experience our own true nature, we allow it to shine through us unobscured, we allow our own lamps to light the way for us.