A very good catch! It ties in really nicely with MN 44's characterisation of the 4 establishments being the nimitta of concentration. I think this is why I favour Ajahn Brahm's explanation that the nimitta in meditation is the "sign" of the mind (rather than the more traditional explanation of it being the image of an object). In the Suda Sutta above, you actually get the Pali saying -daverupa wrote:The Simile of the Cook exemplifies nimitta in terms of the "nimitta of ones mind" with respect to the "nimitta of ones master" and his preference for this or that foodstuff on any given day, which a skilled cook will then incorporate.
So daily one cooks satipatthana for ones mind, carefully noting the mind's preferences and picking up that nimitta. "As a result, he is rewarded with a pleasant abiding here & now, together with mindfulness & alertness.".
Pleasant abidings here and now are jhana.
For me, this is in fact crucial to the entry into jhana, as satipaṭṭhāna leads to very equanimous states of mind that are free of the hindrances. How does one make that leap from equanimity to the perception of rapture and pleasure born of seclusion? Through recognition of the fact that the hindrances are gone and that one is free of the kāmā. That is mental data that are pleasant to cognise and should give rise to joyous mental feeling (but only if one has been taught as such). The nimitta here, IMO, is the data that the hindrances are zapped and one sees the mind as having abandoned its defilements. Something indeed to celebrate.cittassa nimittaṃ uggaṇhātī
he picks up the mind's nimitta
This still leaves some unsatisfied - why should such a nimitta have such an effulgent character? Are the effulgent descriptions of the meditation nimitta in MN 128 and AN 8s to be taken literally or metaphorically? I'm for the literal reading.