Jhana has five characteristics that have been built up on account of practicing meditation on the breath, so much so that their momentum silences thought and the hindrances and one is able to abide in a mental and bodily stream of wholesomeness. These five characteristics are:
- Vitakka: initial application of attention (application of mind) to the meditation-object (effort of the mind to return and remain on the object)
- Vicara: sustained attention (or prolonged examination to the point of penetration and sticking) on the meditation-object, sustaining one's focus for a prolonged period
- Piti: mental happiness, elation, or exuberance due to successfully being able to remain focused on the meditation-object (which has resulted in a purification by concentration, going from a scattered and weak mind to a collected and powerfully penetrative mind
- Sukha: pleasant physical sensation, overwhelming euphoria, or bliss due to successfully calming the mind and concentrating (focusing and intensifying) it on the meditation-object
- Ekagata: one-pointedness of the mind affixed to the meditation-object
A sixth factor comes into play as equanimity replaces sukha.