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How do you recognise the different factors associated with Jhana and the level of Jhana you are in? (Not necessarily when you are in Jhana.)

More particularly how do recognise the factor of applied thought as such, factor of sustained thought as such, factor of rapture as such, factor of happiness as such and factor of one-pointedness of mind as such. How does the experience and correlate with the named factor such that it can be properly ascertained that this is infact this factor, and that factor has arisen and not something else or miss evaluation?

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Referring to the five component factors: applied thought, sustained thought, rapture, happiness and one-pointedness of mind. (source)

Your question is about identifying these factors while in a Jhana - I would suggest that there is no room for such thoughts while in a Jhana. Instead, evaluate the experience once you come out of it - what worked, and what was what (identifying). Thinking "is this that?" or "am I in a Jhana?" are sure ways of getting out of the Jhana. Instead, just be with the experience (in the now moment) and evaluate it afterwards.

  • In jhana, obviously knowing exists, therefore the five factors of jhana are known when jhana consummates. – Dhammadhatu Sep 23 '17 at 22:20
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Applied thought and sustained thought are not the factors that you recognize, they are the factors that you generate. You know when you have them, because you are doing them!

Once you use applied and sustained thought properly, the factors of joy and ease (what you called rapture and happiness -- the translations I don't find precise) will emerge. These are very easy to recognize, because you will feel joyful and at ease! ;)

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Vitaka is the act of bring your attention to the breath. Vicara is the act of sustained focus on the breath. So, you do these two factors as a foundation approach to your practice.

Piti is a physical experience. So, you sense it in the body. Don't be misled by the English interpretation of joy. It might be energy buzz, joyful feeling, tingling or other such feeling. Because this is still a physical sensation it is still gross. So, moving on from piti we find it's mental counterpart, sukha. Sukha is the feeling of pleasure felt in the mind, an imprint of piti. Look for it there. It might manifest as contentment or just a sense of being pleased with ones situation.

Ekaggata is one-pointedness. So it isn't necessarily felt. It is the leaving behind of physical and mental cues and instead a focus on conscious awareness. You are focused on the act of awareness.

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If you ask for an experience, I have not. But if you ask for a resource, you can found in path of purification, Chapter 4th Pathavīkasiṇaniddesa.

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