I seem to have marked the same passages as Kindra in your post. By the end I realized I had best think about this a bit before saying anything. Your post and the response by Kindra both caught me by surprise. At least I definitely agree with your closing statement about trying for a spiral rather than an endless academic circle.
For some reason I was surprised by a post on zen as immoral. Not that I disagree with your observation. Actually it’s very astute and, ironically, shocked me into a new awareness much as zen meditative techniques are supposed to do. That was the realization that within a limited view of the Zen Buddhist goal to gain control of your ‘self’ there is no inherent place for the western construct of morality. To keep this simple that is a bit like going to the hardware store to look for dinner. Unfortunately the other piece of my problem is that I don’t waste much time on morality either and conviction, hat tip to Kindra, is a better word for what that really is. But the point of “morality” is good versus bad action. If you take meditation with a goal of samsara as the only objective then monsters can result. But that ignores mindfulness and compassion. Those can become food for monsters also the gather outward you push your active awareness the harder it is to be monstrous. Certainly not impossible but very much more difficult.
So, my hesitancy comes from wondering if you were originally identifying the problem of the western, popularized zen or making a broader attack on this type of mental discipline. This is, I think, one of the best possible replacements for archaic religion if founded in science and logic. One of the few positive things I see at this point in our evolution.