I would just add that Venerable Anigha, the author of the article, is actively participating in the discussions in r/HillsideHermitage on Reddit. His presentation of the article in the subreddit can be found here: New Essay: What the Jhānas Actually AreVen. Anīgha wrote:One of the most notable differences among today’s Buddhist teachers and traditions is their interpretation of the jhānas, as well as the practices that they assert are the way to achieve them. The mutual gaps between these views are particularly wide when it comes to the first jhāna, due to varying ideas of what the Pali term vitakkavicāra refers to, the characteristic factor of the initial and arguably most crucial establishment of mind, given that all the subsequent jhānas are, in a manner of speaking, successive refinements of the first. The first jhāna that the Suttas describe is also perfectly sufficient for Arahantship (MN 64 & AN 9.36).
The foremost, generally unquestioned assumption about the practice of jhāna (and mental cultivation in general) is that one or another form of continuous attention upon one object is necessary, and this itself rests on the idea samādhi is a state of focused attention. For this reason, the term jhāna has frequently been interpreted as meaning “absorption”. The reality is, however, that not even a concept of “absorption” is discussed, let alone encouraged, anywhere in the Suttas, nor does it correspond to any Pali term in the early texts, and is invariably being read into them and justified heuristically, if at all. In fact, the word jhāna has a very unambiguous meaning both in Pali and Sanskrit: thinking, contemplating, reflecting—meditating.1
The average person who is told to “meditate” would instead proceed to try to “empty their mind”, become hyper-aware of bodily sensations, and breathe deeply to achieve a bodily relaxation akin to what a massage provides. The more serious teachers and practices would then expand upon this, often in meticulous detail and with various nuances, slap Buddhist concepts and terminology into it after the fact, and present the final product as the core of the way towards Nibbāna.