Hmm.. it seems like it'll never end.
I'm not sure what ending you are after.
I just wonder when you'll stop supplying me with links
I have shown you (which I believe) the most credible references. You don't accept it nor come up with your own counter argument, instead you keep showing me some links. I don't understand what you want. Or is this how you learn the Dhamma, by reading and comparing others' view? Then we have a very different way of learning the Teaching. I hope you can eventually find the most acceptable view.
Personally, I have no problem with different people interpreting those suttas a little differently. I don't think the Dhamma is so fragile that it depends on one very specific interpretation to be effective. In my view we have to investigate it ourselves, based on advice from teachers who seem to be trustworthy according to the Buddha's measuring sticks...
Some people in this forum, including you, keep saying that people interpret differently, without any clue which interpretation is right. No one solves the problem. It's not about to be effective
, but to be correct
, otherwise you will never arrive at the certainty of the Teaching. You need to notice different kinds of interpretation:
1. Interpretation = translation + additional judgment/opinion (possibly without evidence, could also contain misunderstanding)
Example: interpretation of the passage you provided earlier about Alara Kalama didn't hear sound, it's not clear why Buddhaghosa interpreted it as immaterial attainment.
2. Interpretation = merely translation + putting together supporting evidence
Example: feel free to give any example, this should be what we're looking for.
Regarding the latest links you gave me, someone mentioned Kathavatthu in one of the links. Kathavatthu is a part of Abhidhamma, and Abhidhamma is all commentary. Based on my experience with commentary, I repeat, I don't trust commentary. I think there's no point to argue with people who base their view on commentary, because at some point they will be demanded to provide sutta reference. If the sutta reference cannot be found, but the opposite reference can be found and clear, they will lose.
I dare to bet people who base their view only on commentary cannot answer either one or both of these questions:
1. Is there any relation between jhana and Nibbana?
2. If yes, how they relate?
This will be a bit out of topic, but I need a small information before continuing.
Let me ask you something if you don't mind. You'll know why later. What is your background before you know Buddhism the very first time? I mean, whether you had any religion before you know Buddhism.
Not for 20 years or so. Some basic Christianity was a child. A little transcendental meditation when I was a student.
The reason I asked about your spiritual background is because there's a very crucial aspect/quality in learning the Teaching, that many people, mostly (not all) westerners (Americans, Europeans) or people who are born in the regions with dominant Theistic belief system, they don't even consider or aware of it. This quality is called saddha(confidence/conviction/trust/faith.) The Buddha always mentions it first when he talks about five qualities: conviction, persistence(viriya), mindfulness(sati), concentration(samadhi), discernment(panna/vipassana). Maybe you're ready with persistence, mindfulness, concentration and discernment. But how about conviction? Without solid conviction, whatever you do, no matter how hard you try, no matter how others try to help you, you won't understand the Teaching, let alone attain the Gnosis. That's what I wanted to say, just FYI.
Let me try to illustrate the importance of conviction for you.
Suppose you drink a type of tea regularly. One day you find a different type of tea you want to try. If you drink the new tea using an empty cup, you will know the distinct taste the new tea has to offer. But if you drink the new tea using a cup half-filled with your regular tea, most likely you won't know exactly what distinct taste the new tea has to offer. In the same way, make sure you don't learn Buddhism with other belief system still sticks in you. Other belief system will interfere, influence your judgement. And believe it or not, from karmic perspective, there will be considerable chance you won't be able to understand the Teaching (especially difficult topics) in this very lifetime (but don't worry, things can change.)
Btw, you mention Transcendental Meditation. That means you might have some exposure to Vedic teaching. Many westerners don't know the main difference between Hinduism and Buddhism. Some even tend to think Hinduism is better than Buddhism since Hinduism came first.