…the lineage of overlapping, long-lasting relationships have nurtured a way of being, in each successive pupil…
There are different kinds of authorization in spiritual teaching in the West today. One is by commerce, the marketplace. If someone has followers who pay for their workshops, buy their books, etc., that is proof enough – they are “authorized” by their buyers.
Often books become a kind of commercial certification. If there’s a book, whoever wrote it must be bona fide. But books and workshops have nothing to do with another kind of authorization, one based on lineage.
Here there is no concern for potential “buyers”. The authorization is valid regardless of a teacher’s following. It’s based instead on a long series of relationships, the latest of which is their own relationship with their teacher.
In the case of Zen, as Zen folks know, this relationship will often have been decades long. The hope is that the lineage of overlapping, long-lasting relationships have nurtured a way of being, in each successive pupil, that is worthy to be passed on, and likely can only be passed on through another such relationship.