i don't doubt that many of these masters deeply understood buddhism and possibly were even enlightened. i really dig zen and have read a LOT of zen literature, from tang dynasty masters works to dogen all the way up to shunryu suzuki and dt suzuki. i have trained zen at a zen temple and gone to retreats and loved everything about it for the most part. so don't think i'm hating or anything, zen really is wonderful.
that being said,
what is up with zen masters in history (and today i suppose) drinking alcohol, sleeping with women, beating people up, and not losing their status of being accepted as a master with a great understanding of satori and the dharma???
correct me if i'm wrong but if a bhikkhu in the buddhas time or even today in the theravada tradition was well respected and thought of as a stream enterer or higher and then started getting wasted on booze, got married and started beating people up, wouldn't they generally be understood to have fallen away from the dhamma at best or at worst to have been total frauds in the first place? i recall one sutta (somewhere in the vinaya i believe) in which the buddha created a new rule, because a bhikkhu slept with his own wife, that bhikkhus could not do this, so i'm fairly confident that i'm right in this regard.
asking a zen person this will get a reply such as: "that's just zen. all things are one, non dual, so sleeping with women is zen, so is beating people up."
now i'm wondering what theravada people say about this?