not sure i have much to add…
If one is wanting to link the zazen and vipassana worlds, samatha vipassana is the style of vipassana that is closest to zazen. It is a seated meditation where when you notice the discursive mind you follow the out breath to return to the moment. notice, return.
Fortunately most of my zen teachers have been very helpful and practical and less on the enigmatic side, there is that tendency for sure. i think the idea is to get you to sit, sit, sit for years, like in traditional kendo how you only practice the first stroke the entire first year. western practitioners tend to like the big picture and the cliff notes, rather then the old school approach. although there is nothing like a month long silent meditation retreat, somethings really do just take time to percolate.
I love zen, because it eschews many of the trappings and focuses on the core basics in a clean clear way. it is my personal cup of tea and sits well with me…(i can’t help the puns) both rinzai and soto schools have been welcoming to me.
really i just enjoy a moment of stillness, of coming back to myself and the moment. it can be as simple as that. it doesn’t have to be on the cushion.
Japaneses vajrayana practitioners have been more guarded about their practices, the tibetan vajrayana has been actively spread throughout the world and the west. Vajrayana is very layered and has inner and outer teachings, and I personally think it is one of the easier paths to go “astray” on, so it is difficult to say how much of the inner practices have been truly transferred and taken root in these external cultures. By go astray i simply mean that i’ve met vajrayana practitioners who instead of “cutting through” were even more “caught up” then before they started.
i love tibetan buddhism because of the rich cultural heritage, practices like tonglen (@slybevel) are wonderful for generating empathy and compassion without creating additional suffering. Vajrayana, mahamudra, tantra, tonglen, there are a lot of different practices that are worth exploring, although I personally think that exploring them is much much more valuable from a basis of having a LOT LOT LOT of solid foundation in zazen/samatha vipassana/seated meditation.