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Part of the SKT220 Buddhist Ayurveda Course on Sanskrit Terms of Ayurveda and Dharma

Arhat - དགྲ་བཅོམ་པ་ - drachompa - dgra bcom pa - Lohan

[[Arhat]], see also [[Sixteen Arhats Puja]]

Shravaka disciples from the Longchen Nyingtik Field of Merit]]

**Arhat** (Skt. //arhat//; Tib. དགྲ་བཅོམ་པ་, //drachompa//; Wyl. //dgra bcom pa//) — the ultimate result of the shravaka yana and pratyekabuddha yana. One who has completely overcome the enemy of the disturbing emotions and is therefore worthy of praise.


There are two kinds of arhat: those with remainder and those without remainder.

How an Arhat teaches

Arhats teach by means of the three pure factors (Tib. དག་པ་གསུམ་, Wyl. //dag pa gsum//) <ref>Patrul Rinpoche, //Preliminary Points To be Explained when Teaching the Buddha's Word or the Treatises//, translated by Adam Pearcey.</ref>


 * [[Sixteen Arhats]]


Key Buddhist Terms

Paths and Stages

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“Be careful not to believe in your own mind: your mind cannot be believed. . . . Once you have become an Arhat, then you can believe your own mind.” (S42 57)

In the Pali texts of the Theravada tradition (see Theravada School) the standard formula for describing the Arhat is as follows: “Destroyed is rebirth, lived is the celibate life (of a disciple), done is what had to be done, after this present life there is no beyond.” (Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary)

Arhat” is one of the four kinds of truly Enlightened beings (see Enlightenment). It is a Sanskrit word, which can be interpreted in three Ways:

1) “'One Worthy of Offerings'. Arhats are Worthy of Offerings from humans and Gods. On the causal ground a Bhikshu makes the alms round for his food, and as a result, as an Arhat he is 'Worthy of Offerings'.” (SS I 107).

“If you make offerings to an Arhat, an Enlightened Sage, who has been certified . . . you thereby attain limitless and boundless blessings. There is no Way to calculate how many.” (S42 3-4)

2) 'Slayer of Thieves'. 'The thieves referred to are not external thieves, but the thieves within you: the thieves of ignorance, the thieves of afflictions and the six thieves - the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. Unknown to you, they rob you. . . . These six thieves steal your Unsurpassed True Treasures . . . .“ (SS I 107-108)

3) 'unproduced'/'unborn'. “They have attained the Patience with the Non-Production of Dharmas. They do not have to undergo birth and death (samsara) again… Although they have not attained Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, the Unsurpassed Proper and Equal Right Enlightenment, they will not fall into the three realms (see entry).” (SS I 108)

Those three aspects of being an Arhat are the result of causes created in cultivation as a Bhikshu.

Constantly observing the 250 Bhikshu Precepts, they enter into and abide in purity. By practicing the four True Paths (i.e., paths to the Four Stages explained below), they realize Arhatship. (S42 1)

“Having been certified as having attained the patience with the Non-Production of Dharmas, the Arhat is beyond coming into being (produced) and ceasing to be (destroyed). Wouldn't you agree that the state of the Arhat is really terrific? The Arhat isn't busy in the least. He is totally free and at ease, taking it easy, laid back, and not doing much, collecting unemployment. Do you recognize the Arhats? Their heads are bald and shiny, and so are their feet. That is, they don't wear shoes. Nobody supervises them and they don't pay any attention to anyone else. No ties, no cares, no hang-ups, no self, no others, no living beings, no life (anatman, na sattva, na jiva, na pudgala of the Vajra Sutra), no nothing. Ahhh…

“Their minds have attained Self-Mastery. They have no false thinking. Once they enter Samadhi, they can sit (in meditation) for several thousand years. The First Patriarch Maha Kashyapa (see entry) went to Ji-Dzu mountain Yunnan Province, China and entered Samadhi. He hasn't come out of it yet. That's because his mind has attained Self-Mastery.” (DFS VIII 1449-11250)

“As Destroyer of Thieves, Arhats have killed the thief of ignorance. Ignorance is a thief who ruins one's karma for the Way. Why do people do things that are upside-down? It's out of ignorance. Why is it that, when one has no attachments, one deliberately looks for attachments? It's all out of ignorance. In spite of the fact that it is in our power to end birth and death, why do we fail to do so? It is because of ignorance. Ignorance is simply terrible!

Arhats kill ignorance. While we say they 'kill' ignorance, they haven't killed it entirely. They have killed coarse ignorance, but a subtle ignorance remains. Ignorance could be likened to a virus. Perhaps you break out in a sore. When you put some medicine on it, it clears up. But as soon as you quit applying the medicine, it breaks out again, and your skin itches like crazy. The Arhats have the medicine and put it on the sore, but they haven't gotten rid of the disease at its source. The only Way to get rid of it entirely is to become a Buddha…” (DFS VII 1371-1372)

Four Stages of Arhatship

Four Stages of Arhatship

Strictly speaking the term Arhat refers to the Fourth Stage only, but is often used to refer to those of all Four Stages. (The term can also include Pratyekabuddhas and is also employed in its more general meaning as one of the Ten Titles of the Buddha.)

1) First Stage - Srota-apanna

“The Arhat of the First Stage is called one who has 'Entered the Stream' (Srota-apanna). He has Entered the Stream of the Dharma-nature of the Sage, and he goes counter to the flow of the stream of the six senses of common people. He still has to undergo seven more rebirths among those in the heavens and among humans before he comes to the end of the path.” (DFS X 52)

The Srota-apanna . . . has seven deaths and seven births remaining, and then will be certified as an Arhat. Severing love and desire is like severing the four limbs; one never uses them again. (S42 1)

2) Second Stage - Sakridagamin

“The Arhat of the Second Stage is called a 'Once-Returner' (Sakridagamin). He has one more rebirth to undergo in the heavens and one among humans.

The Sakridagamin . . . ascends once, returns once more, and thereafter becomes an Arhat. (S42 1)

3) Third Stage - Anagamin

“The Arhat of the Third Stage is called a 'never-returner' (Anagamin). He does not have to undergo birth again in the human realm.” (DFS X 52)

At the end of his life an Anagamin's vital spirit will ascend to the Nineteenth Heaven [i.e., the Highest heaven of the Fourth Dhyana - see Four Dhyanas

4) Fourth Stage - Arhat

“The Arhat of the Fourth Stage is called 'unborn'. The Fourth Stage Arhat has attained Patience with the Non-Production of Dharmas. This means that he does not see the slightest Dharma come into being or the slightest Dharma cease to be. Such a vision is not easy to bear, but he has the patience to bear it. . . .” (DFS X 52)

“What proof is there that someone has been certified as a Fourth Stage Arhat? A Fourth Stage Arhat's feet don't touch the ground. His feet are off the ground by three-tenths of an inch, and because of that, he never squashes worms or ants. . . . Not only can one of the Fourth Stage do this, one of the First Stage can also do this.” (S42 4)

Arhats can fly and transform themselves. They have a lifespan of vast eons, and wherever they dwell they can move Heaven and Earth (S42 1)

“Wherever an Arhat dwells, the Gods, Goddesses, dragons (nagas), and others of the Eightfold Division protect his Dharma, and it is very peaceful wherever he is. There aren't any hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, tidal waves, or any such disasters, because the Dharma Protectors and good spirits are always protecting him and making auspicious things happen to him.” (S42 5)

People who have been certified as Fourth Stage Arhats have freedom over birth and death (samsara). They are truly free; no one can watch over them. If they want to live, they can live. If they want to die, they can die whenever they want. If they want to die standing up, they can die standing up. If they want to die sitting down, they can die that Way. If they want to die walking, they can die walking. If they want to die sleeping, they can die sleeping. It's up to them. . . .” (S42 5)

When the Venerable Master Da-Syou decided it was time to leave, he chiselled a space out of the rock cliff next to where he lived and meditated and then fashioned some doors. He then sat down inside, arranged his body in Full Lotus position, closed the doors, and entered the final Stillness. Upon the doors he had inscribed this verse:

There is no Great, no small, no inside nor out, cultivate yourself, understand yourself, and make your own arrangements.

The Non-Ultimacy of Arhatship

In the Dharma Flower Sutra (Lotus Sutra) Assembly the Buddha explains that the Enlightenment of the Arhat is not ultimate. At that time Five Hundred Arhats in the Assembly proclaimed:

World-Honored One, we had always thought that we had gained the ultimate Cessation (Nirodha) (i.e., Nirvana). Now we know that we were like unknowing ones. Why is this? We should have obtained the Thus Come One's wisdom, but were content instead with lesser knowledge.” (DFS VIII 1466)

“Having attained the Way of the Arhat, we said of ourselves that we had gained Cessation (Nirodha). In the difficulty of maintaining our livelihood (Commentary: The lifestyle of the Small Vehicle (Lesser Vehicle) is like that of a very poor person.), we were content with what little we had gained. Still, our Vows for All wisdom remain; they have not been lost. Now the World-Honored One has caused us to wake up, saying, 'Bhikshus! What you have obtained is not ultimate Cessation (Nirodha)!'” (DFS VIII 1475-1476)

Arhats are sometimes referred to as Shravakas (see entry).

1) Chinese: a luo han , 2) Sanskrit: Arhat, Arhant, Arhanti, 3) Pali Arahant, 4) Alternate translations: Worthy, deserving and meritorious person, One Worthy of Offerings, Destroyer of Enemies, Slayer of Thieves.

See Also Shravaka, Enlightenment, eighty-eight deluded point of views, eighty-one cognitive delusions.

BTTS References: DFS VII 1371-2, 1449-50; DFS X 52; TT 47; EDR II 57-58 (18 Transformations); FAS Ch16 28-31; SS I 107-109; AS 66; VBS

  1. 196, pp. 4-5.

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Fair Use: Vaidya Vasant Lad, Textbook of Ayurveda, Ayurvedic Press, 2002; Vasant Lad, BAMS, MAsc, Ayurvedic Institute Gurukula Notes, Ayurvedic Institute, 1994-2006; and Ron Epstein, Buddhism A to Z, Burlingame, California, Buddhist Text Translation Society, 2003, p. and many other sources (see Bibliography). Adapted from Fair Use Source: Upasaka Ron Epstein, Buddhism A to Z, 1999: p. Primary Original Source: The Tripitaka of Sutra, Shastra and Vinaya Dharma teachings (as found in the scripture storehouse of the Indian Sanskrit- Siddham, Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese traditions of the Nalanda Tradition of ancient Nalanda University) of Shakyamuni Buddha, and his Arya Sagely Bodhisattva Bhikshu Monk and Upasaka disciples.

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arhat.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:10 (external edit)