PeterB wrote:My own view is that it cannot and never will. That the Suttas only make any sense when read from the viewpoint of a fairly advanced degree of meditative absorption.
The Sutta are a confirmation, alone they are not a means.
I agree that the experience of meditative absorption does change one's point of view. But even more it is changed by mindfulness. By insight. The trouble - for me - was and still is to describe what I see and know. There are no terms in my language because both by absorption as well as insight one crosses the known world of concepts one has learned as a child. So, more than twenty years ago, I started to develop my own language in which I could describe - even if only to myself. To the part of my mind that needs to describe, that needs words.
For example, when mindfulness is present there is a change of perspective. Thoughts for example are not experienced as a part of me but as something external, something observed. Without mindfulness on the other hand thoughts are incorporated into that impression of myself, that "myself" is influenced and changed by them. So I choose to describe this specific difference that comes from the absence or presence of mindfulness as "assimilating thoughts" versus "not-assimilating thoughts".
But when I read suttas such as Puttamansa Sutta: A Son's Flesh and Donapaka Sutta: King Pasenadi Goes on a Diet
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .olen.html
I thought that that what I called "assimilation" is actually called "eating" in the suttas. The meaning is identical, something incorporated, included into oneself, changing oneself, sustaining something specific - and this something is attacked by mindfulness, by not incorporating, by not eating thoughts.
Thus I started to interpret the suttas in this fashion. But with the sole exception of Ajahn Buddhadasa (and he is dead) I have not found anyone really interested in this kind of approach of reading the suttas, namely the approach of actually using the point of view one gains by meditation for talking - maybe this current fashion of not talking of one's experiences, insights and attainments is the source of this disinterest. People, teachers and students alike, seem to prefer to think of the suttas as referring to ideology, life style and fashion - because these are things one is allowed to talk about. I admit I am quite disappointed by it and I will not follow them there because suttas like the mentioned ones might induce eating disorders and deficiency symptoms when interpreted in their way.
This said, I do agree with the teaching of meditation techniques of the Theravadan teachers I investigated. I can see the tricks they use to establish concentration and mindfulness working. This is why I decided not to further study and discuss the suttas or other scripture but stick to the meditation practice itself. The suttas would be great to establish concepts and terminology of the development one undergoes by meditation but without anyone else to use it it is pointless and I guess I will just return to creating a language myself for myself.