The Seven Factors of Enlightenment are called Bojjhanga or Sambojjhanga. They are contributing efforts, skills and accomplishments that arise simultaneously in the present moment during proper Concentration (Samatha) and Insight (Vipassanā) Meditation that is conducted in accordance with the Four Foundations of Mindfulness (Satipatthāna). These Factors jointly lead to realizing, seeing, knowing and effectively eliminating Ignorance, the root cause of all suffering. They foster attainment of Dhammakāya, supernormal powers (Abhiññā), and transcendental knowledge (Vijjā). When well developed, they enable penetration of the Four Noble Truths, the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination, and, ultimately, Nirvana (Nibbāna).
In the Vibhangapakarana Pitaka, Lord Buddha lists and defines the Seven Factors of Enlightenment (Sambojjhanga) as follows (Abhidhamma-pitaka, 35/542/306):
||investigation and identification of mental stimuli (dhammas) as wholesome (Kusala) or unwholesome (Akusala).|
||Rapture, Joy, or Bliss
Lord Buddha illustrates the mutual interaction of the Factors of Enlightenment (Sambojjhanga) with numerous examples. Here are three (Abhidhamma-pitaka, 35/543-563/306-314).
Sati: A monk, in this religion, is mindful, endowed with superb mindfulness and wisdom. He recalls repeatedly deeds performed or words spoken long ago. This is Sati-Sambojjhanga.
Dhamma-vicaya: That mindful monk applies Vipassanā wisdom to investigate and classify those deeds or words. This is Dhamma-vicaya-Sambojjhanga.
Viriya: That monk exerts diligent effort [endowed with Vipassanā] to investigate, classify and contemplate those deeds or words. This is Viriya-Sambojjhanga.
Piti: When that monk applies effort, Vipassanā Joy without object arises. This is Piti-Sambojjhanga.
Passaddhi: When that monk attains Vipassanā Joy his body and mind become tranquil. This is Passaddhi-Sambojjhanga.
Samādhi: When that monk is mentally and physically tranquil, his mind becomes firmly established in meditation. The mind concentrates in Vipassanā one-pointedness. This is Samādhi-Sambojjhanga.
Upekkhā: That monk contemplates the concentrated mind with balance [neither too lax nor too exacting]. This is Upekkhā-Sambojjhanga.
This is an example of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment (Sambojjhanga) working together in Vipassanā investigation. They all arise together within the meditator’s mind in the present moment – neither before that nor afterwards.
Sati: Sati-Sambojjhanga is recalling conditioned phenomena inside and outside. It arises for reaching supernormal powers (Abhiññā), enlightenment and Nirvana. Note: When a monk contemplates conditioned phenomena inside and outside, Sati arises (Abhidhamma Atthakata, 2/336-337). Supernormal powers or Abhiññā consist of deva eye, deva ear, reading minds, remembering past lives, magical powers, and knowledge for purging mental intoxicants.
Dhamma-vicaya: Dhamma-vicaya-Sambojjhanga is inves-tigating and classifying phenomena inside and outside. It arises for reaching supernormal powers, enlightenment and Nirvana.
Viriya: Physical stamina [as in walking meditation] and mental resolution [for example, in sitting meditation] are Viriya-Sambojjhanga. It arises for reaching supernormal powers, enlightenment and Nirvana. Note: Physical stamina is when a monk resolve to practice walking meditation, so Viriya or Effort arises. Mental resolution is when a monk resolves, “I will not get out of meditation until I am free from mental intoxicants or Āsava,” so Effort arises.
Piti: Joy with or without Applied Thought (Vitakka) and Sustained Thought (Vicāra) is Piti-Sambojjhanga. It arises for reaching supernormal powers, enlightenment and Nirvana.
Passaddhi: Physical and mental tranquility is Passaddhi-Sambojjhanga. It arises for reaching supernormal powers, enlightenment and Nirvana. Note: Physical tranquility is calmness from agitation of the Three Aggregates which are sensation, perception and volition. Mental tranquility is calmness from agitation of consciousness.
Samādhi: Concentration with or without Applied Thought (Vitakka) and Sustained Thought (Vicāra) is Samādhi-Sambojjhanga. It arises for reaching supernormal powers, enlightenment and Nirvana.
Upekkhā: Balanced neutrality regarding conditioned phenomena inside and outside is Upekkhā-Sambojjhanga. It arises for reaching supernormal powers, enlightenment and Nirvana.
The First Jhāna is hard to practice and slow to realize. If a monk in this religion develops supra-mundane absorption [Jhāna] it enables him to leave this world, achieve Nirvana, eliminate wrong view, and attain the First Jhāna. In the First Jhāna, all five Jhāna Factors are active: Applied Thought (Vitakka), Sustained Thought (Vicāra), Joy (Piti), and Peaceful Happiness (Sukha) which arises from Equanimity (Ubekkhā). Whenever that monk wishes to flee sensual objects to observe a chaste life or to avoid unwholesome phenomena, he can attain the First Jhāna. Then, he is practicing the Seven Factors of Enlightenment (Sambojjhanga): Sati, Dhamma-vicaya, Viriya, Piti, Passaddhi, Samādhi, and Upekkhā.
Sati: Mindfulness is frequently recalling and regaining phenomena or remembering without forgetfulness. It is the mindfulness faculty (Satindriya), mindfulness power (Satipala) that overcomes delusion, and Right Mindfulness (Sammā-sati) or contemplation of bodies, feelings, minds and dhammas both inside and outside. It is the factor of enlightening wisdom due to applying mindfulness. It is also a factor of the Path (Magga) and Dhamma regarding the Path. Altogether, this is Sati-Sambojjhanga.
Dhamma-vicaya: Dhamma-vicaya Wisdom is Right Understanding regarding the Three Characteristics and the Practice leading to the Noble Paths, Noble Fruits, and Nirvana which is the end of all suffering in the cycle of rebirths. It is realization of the true nature of phenomena. Wisdom means keen knowledge, refined intelligence, dispassionate contemplation, pure insight, full awareness, and research skills. It includes the Wisdom Faculty (Paññindriya) that investigates phenomena freely, Wisdom Powers (Paññā-pala) to overcome ignorance, the Wisdom Weapon (Paññā-sattha), Palace of Wisdom (Paññā-pāsāda) to see clearly, the Light of Wisdom (Paññā-āloko), Radiance of Wisdom (Paññā-obhāso), Brilliance of Wisdom (Paññā-pajjoto), and the Crystal of Wisdom (Paññā-rattana). Dhamma-vicaya Wisdom means Non-delusion, Investigation of Truth, and Right View (Sammā-ditthi). It is enlightening wisdom which applies wisdom properly for investigating and classifying phenomena. It is a Factor of the Path (Magga). It is also Dhamma regarding the Path. These are all Dhamma-vicaya-Sambojjhanga.
Viriya: First, Viriya is making the initial effort to escape from sensual lures with diligent meditation, firm intention and valiant exertion. Second, it means sustained perseverance, unflagging effort, and firm persistence in maintaining the struggle, as well as being responsible in one’s duties. It includes Viriya-pala (overpowering fear), Sammā-vāyāma (steadfast perseverance in making merit) and Virindriya (initiating independent efforts to make merit). It also includes the effort to discover Truth, to gain enlightenment and to stay on the Path. These are all Viriya-Sambojjhanga.
Piti: Piti is joy, rapture and bliss. It is cheer, pleasure, merriment gladness and delight. Piti stems from inner wisdom. It is the overpowering ecstasy of being freed from the Five Hindrances. Piti which arises is a factor of enlightening wisdom. All these are Piti-Sambojjhanga.
Passaddhi: Passaddhi or tranquility is the calm peacefulness felt when both the body and all four mental aggregates – feelings, perception, volition, and consciousness – are completely at ease. It stems from wisdom and joy (Piti) and leads to supernormal powers, enlightenment and Nirvana. Passaddhi arising is a factor of enlightening wisdom. All these are Passaddhi-Sambojjhanga.
Samādhi: Samādhi means to uphold or sustain. It refers to an established mind that does not struggle, sway, or move in the wrong way. It includes Samatha (Concentration), Samāthindriya (an established, independent mentality), Samādhi-phala (Established concentration which overpowers the swaying mind) and Sammā-samādhi or Right Concentration [Mastery of the Jhānas]. It also includes the factor of discovering Truth, gaining enlightenment and staying on the Path. These are all Samādhi-Sambojjhanga.
Upekkhā: Equanimity or Upekkhā is the balanced, neutral, even-minded concentration of the well-established mind, neither pulled toward pleasure nor repelled by displeasure. It regards the current state of mind with neutrality, neither attracted to hold on to it nor repelled to rush on to something else. It is a factor of enlightening wisdom. All these are Upekkhā-Sambojjhanga.