Greetings Ben, Tilt, all,
Ben wrote:What is apparent is that there is not a lot of specifics with regard to meditation practice.
That is a noteworthy observation from which any number of differing conclusions could be drawn... guided as I am by the Simsapa Sutta, my conclusion is more likely to lean towards the inconsequentiality of them.
Ben wrote:For example - there is material in MN10 regarding vedana as meditation object (amongst others), and the nature of vedana and what can be observed from them, but there is little on how one observes.
Not to be cheeky, but unless someone born handicapped, all people are born experiencing the six consciousnesses, and don't need specific instruction on how to observe these things - they are present, that is what makes them vinnana. However, for clear seeing of any experienceable dhamma (and the Satipatthana Sutta is comprehensive in that it provides at least one possible frame of reference for every experienceable dhamma), we need only perceive them as they truly are (i.e. how the Buddha explained them to be), not perceiving them otherwise... and in doing so, avoid appropriating anything in that loka, as per the instruction in the oft-repeated Satipatthana Sutta refrain. Such perception doesn't even require a given "meditation object" - merely a frame of reference amenable to accurate perception of whatever is loka. I appreciate that's quite a radical position for a Theravada orthodoxy that stresses satipatthana-vipassana as the means of cultivating insight knowledges, but I think it holds its own.
Ben wrote:As I have mentioned before, technique is just skillful means or in Ledi Sayadaw's words "exercise" to help one cultivate particular mental qualities and habits. Whether the fine detail is derived from a living tradition that has practiced the same thing continuously for hundreds or thousands of years, analysis of the commentarial sources or is found in the writings of later teachers or inferred directly from the suttas themselves - its unimportant. The important things are: - is it in keeping with what the Buddha taught?, and 2. Does it give results?
Agreed - each person can reflect on that for themselves, though as Robert said in the other topic, "to find which is right, one has to learn what wisdom really is, and what the real conditions for such wisdom are."
tiltbillings wrote:What the Buddha said is always going to be interpreted by those who engage it.
Yes ~ there are even interpretations of the interpretations of the interpretations. My preference is to minimise the interpretations, rather than argue...
tiltbillings wrote:...that there is only one objective truly true invariant understanding of what the Buddha taught
Yet, the Dhamma is
the truth and there is none higher. There are many ways in which that truth may be expressed, and various skilful means of varying efficacies by which it might be known.