OK, perhaps I should spell out what I was saying. Several people here say that what is taught by Goenka, Mahasi, etc is not in the Suttas. Naturally, I disagree. The focussing on a variety of objects is based on the Satipatthana Sutta and the various other suttas that Geoff kindly quoted above (many of which are AN Suttas not easily available to me - I presume he's giving us the PTS translations). The Mahasi teachers are not claiming to be teaching absorption jhana so it's no surprise that their instructions are different from Ajahn Brahm. They do claim that the jhana factors can be highly developed by focussing on "non-conceptual objects (as explained by Geoff's sutta quotes). Of course, the details of the particular instructions that Mahasi-style teachers use are not in the suttas, just like the instructions of every teacher.daverupa wrote:My understanding must be deficient; I had understood it to be the case that Ajahn Brahm described jhana 1-4 + 5-8 as being devoid of material form, preceded by a light nimitta, whereas the Suttas offer a different understanding of jhana 1-4 and which are silent on light nimitta.mikenz66 wrote:As I said, they are not contradictory, they are different instructions for different types of concentration.
Each of these approaches [absorption then vipassana (e.g. Brahm)/concentration and vipassanadeveloped simultaneously (e.g. Mahasi)] are elaborations sutta material. I think that's rather clear from Geoff's posts above. Which approach is "better" is, in my view, a matter of individual proclivities and available teachers.
Ajahn Brahm says that he's teaching according to the anapanasati and other suttas. He describes using the breath nimitta (the bright lights - a "conceptual" mind-created object) and obtaining complete absorption in all jhanas. Such details of use of the nimitta is not in the suttas. Ironically, for those who think that the commentaries are just an academic exercise, and not based on the experience of ancients who practised well, this method is spelled out in some detail in the commentaries. It also seems to be a common experience among meditators.
Some other teachers also teach a highly absorbed jhana. E.g. Pa Auk Sayadaw.
Other teachers have different interpretations of the Anapanasati sutta from Ajahn Brahm. They give different instructions, and their definition of jhana is not so absorbed (e.g. Ven Thanissaro).
All of which doesn't particularly bother me. The quotations from U Pandita explain quite clearly that different objects lead to different results. This is also discussed in detail in the commentaries. And I can certainly see differences between the results of using different objects (though I'm no expert!).
My conclusion is that developing samadhi with different objects can lead to anything from the highly-absorbed Brahm/Commentary Jhana, though moderate absorption, to the relatively unabsorbed "vipassana jhana" described by Vens Mahasi/U Pandita. The jhana described by some other teachers, such as Bhante Vimalaramsi, seems to also be in the latter category.
Some members seem to want to prove that there is one particular "right way" described in the Suttas. I tend to think that there are are several different approaches hinted at in the suttas, and developed by various ancient and modern teachers. I'm interested in learning from the experiences of various ancient and modern teachers, not denying that experience.