But Bhante, what is the "popular" understanding as such? You'll forgive me if I express uncertainty, given the proliferation of the anti-absorption models online. Certainly, the "traditional" model holds its own within certain monastic environments, but I get the impression that the more popular model is for jhāna where there is :
- 5 sense awareness;
- thinking and rumination.
This does not even begin to factor in opinion from scholarly quarters (eg Wynne) that the absorption model found in the suttas is an artifact of contamination intruding into the Buddha's earliest teachings. I would exclude this model from the "popular" equation, since this line argues that the absorption suttas have suffered doctrinal contamination, which I think the "popular" school would find too radical an idea.
Pls excuse my reticence on my experiences. I simply prefer to restrict the discussion to what the discourses say. I don't think it's as hopeless as simply going around theories, since we are actually scrutinising each theory against the Gold Standard, ie the suttas.
I would just mention that I'm not a big fan of the Vsm model, but if I were to make a principled disagreement with the Vsm model, I do not brush it off simply by saying, "Oh that comes from the Vsm". I reject something only if I can demonstrate a clear inconsistency between an exegetical proposition with (i) a sutta proposition, or (ii) a reasonable inference from a sutta proposition.
All I would volunteer is that, having experienced the states described by the "popular" model, I have rejected them as being inconsistent with what I think the suttas say. The said emphasis is a recognition that I am not the last word on how suttas should be read and interpreted, but I would expect a great deal of linguistic rigour to be exerted with the texts. As a matter of principle, I do not allow the primary material to be lensed through later material, which is why you'll be hard-pressed to find me resorting to the Vsm.