There many problems in people claiming attainments without being entirely sure they have attained them!!
And just because lay people are not bound by monastics rules on this issue, doesn’t mean that there aren’t similar reasons for being circumspect and discrete. For monastics, though, falsely claiming a jhana or other supramundane state is cause for disrobal. Why? Because it was considered such an impressive attainment that if people deceptively claimed it, they could unscrupulously benefit by becoming popular, receiving many offerings etc, and also mislead the community with this lie and instead of having Right View as a basis, they would actually be teaching from a point of wrong view. This is bad! The fact that it is a disrobing offence also shows us that these states were held in very high regard, and were not easy to attain. We should bear this in mind when people talk of enjoying a bit of bliss for an hour and thinking that it is jhana. We should be cautious that people don’t deceive themselves, or deceive others …
It’s important to have a teacher to discuss these things with… A real teacher. Not the internet.
@greenTara, you asked about definitions.
Here is Ajahn Brahm’s description of jhana. He is regarded as having a very high standard.
From Mindfulness Bliss and Beyond by Ajahn Brahm
The Landmarks of All Jhānas
“From the moment of entering a jhāna, one will have
no control. One will be unable to give orders as one
normally does. When the will that is controlling vanishes, then the “I will” that fashions one’s concept of future also disappears. Since the concept of time ceases in jhāna, the very question “What should I do next?” cannot arise. One cannot even decide when to come out. It is this absolute absence of will, and of its offspring, time, that gives the
jhānas their timeless stability and allows them to last sometimes for many blissful hours.
Because of the perfect one-pointedness and fixed
attention, one loses the faculty of perspective within jhāna. Comprehension relies on comparison—relating this to that, here to there, now with then. In jhāna, all that is perceived is an unmoving, enveloping, nondual bliss that allows no space for the arising of perspective. It is like that puzzle where one is shown a photograph of a well-known object from an unusual angle, and one has to guess what it is. It is very difficult to identify some objects without looking at them from different angles. When perspective is removed, so is comprehension. Thus in jhāna not only is there no sense of time but also there is no comprehension of what is going on. At the time, one will not even know which jhāna one is in. All one knows is great bliss, unmoving, unchanging, for unknown lengths of time.
Even though there is no comprehension within any jhāna, one is certainly not in a trance. One’s mindfulness is greatly increased to a level of sharpness that is truly incredible. One is immensely aware. Only mindfulness doesn’t move. It is frozen. And the stillness of the superpower mindfulness, the perfect one-pointedness of awareness, makes the
jhāna experience completely different from anything one has known before. This is not unconsciousness. It is nondual consciousness. All it can know is one thing, and that is timeless bliss that doesn’t move.
Afterward, when one has emerged from the jhāna, such
consummate one-pointedness of consciousness falls apart. With the weakening of one-pointedness, perspective reemerges, and the mind has the ability to move again. The mind has regained the space needed to compare and comprehend. Ordinary consciousness has returned.
Having just emerged from a jhāna, it is the usual practice to look back at what has happened and review the jhāna experience. The jhānas are such powerful events that they leave an indelible record in one’s memory store. In fact, one will never forget them as long as one lives. They are easy to recall with perfect retention. One comprehends the details of what happened in the jhāna, and one knows which of the jhānas it was. Moreover, data obtained from reviewing a jhāna form the basis of the insight that leads to Another strange quality that distinguishes jhāna from all other experience is that within jhāna, all the five senses are totally shut down. One cannot see, hear, smell, taste, or feel touch. One cannot hear a crow cawing or a person coughing. Even if there were a thunderclap nearby, it wouldn’t be heard in a jhāna. If someone tapped you on the shoulder, or picked you up and let you down, in jhāna you cannot know this. The mind in jhāna is so completely cut off from these five senses that they cannot break in…”
There are other teachers who have less strict definitions of jhana. One guiding question I ask is, who is it that benefits from a more lax definition of jhana?