The fate of Arhats?

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The fate of Arhats?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 29, 2011 3:16 pm

I was doing some research and came across the following passage from the Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra attributed to Nāgārjuna.


問曰:
阿羅漢先世因緣所受身必應當滅,住在何處而具足佛道?

答曰:
得阿羅漢時,三界諸漏因緣盡,更不復生三界。有淨佛土,出於三界,乃至無煩惱之名,於是國土佛所,聞《法華經》,具足佛道。如《法華經》說:「有羅漢,若不聞《法華經》,自謂得滅度;我於餘國為說是事,汝皆當作佛。

(CBETA, T25, no. 1509, p. 714, a9-15)



Question -- Arhats in their past lives must have extinguished all the conditions and conditions to be reborn into a new body. Where do they abide and perfect the Buddha's path?

Answer -- When one attains Arhatship, all contaminated causes and conditions of the three realms are extinguished and one is no longer reborn in the three realms. There is a pure Buddha-land beyond the three realms even being without the word 'defilements'. In this realm, the place of the Buddha, they hear the Lotus Sūtra, and perfect the Buddha's path. As the Lotus Sūtra says, "There are Arhats who think of themselves as having attained cessation if they have not heard the Lotus Sūtra. In another realm I explain this - you all will become Buddhas."



Other texts in East Asia explain that Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas receive a "transformation body" (變易身) when they are reborn outside the three realms in the aforementioned pure land.

Other Mahāyāna lines of thought suggest Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas are forever unable to attain Buddhahood. Bodhisattvas also run the risk of attaining Arhatship if they're not careful. One can realize liberation prematurely.

I've also heard some ideas that Arhats remain in a 'samadhi of non-abiding' until they are reborn as bodhisattvas. Does anyone know the source of this?
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Re: The fate of Arhats?

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:33 pm

I have no idea of that particular source.

However as this is in dharma free for all I feel free to add upon this issue.
This reminds me of those that attain or aim at a formless realm.

From a text I am at this moment reading...

"You may go astray into the formless (realm) if you believe that the ultimate (path) is when all appearences and solidity cease into a consciousness like space, or into an infinate (consciousness), or into nothingness, or into the absence of both identification and nonidentification.

I would probably equilivize this notion of rebirth(if it could be called that) into a formless realm of nonthought which would result from great meditative accomplishment but then have as attribute the necessity for becoming a bodhisttava to advance again spirituall towards full enlightenment
In other words arhats as described by the last sentences of the thread. They have great accomplishment and this as result which is a true place of true status of things but not full enlightenment. So furthur advancement in other form is necessary and will be accomplished when cause in the form of a rebirth as a bodhisttava occurs. This state eventually winding down as it is samsaric in nature.

Could that be described as a pure land state..well it seems not. But there appears a similiarity to my opinion in that last line and how things may appear to a being in the formless realm.
Feel free to totally discount as it to a extent, is a exteraneous rambling thought on this.
It reminded me of that perhaps because I am reading of that at this moment. I don't know if this form of buddhism abscribes to the formless realm to the extent perhaps other form of buddhism does. If not so present those things reminded me of its description.

Some equate arhats partial understanding of things as directly resultant as of the lacking of compassionate componant.
Formless realm seems the same equality of cause.
Both leading to errors or lackings in complete comprehension.

To my personal view..compassion is naturally present with completely apprehended awareness. It is the flip side of what we consider to be awareness.
INcomplete compassion would then infer necessarily a incompletely apprehended awareness always.
So such one could never become fully enlightened as arhat to my thinking.
I have none of that to worry about..... being not any of those... having no meditative accomplishment :smile: . So I am discussing things as would a tourist never visiting a place but expounding upon such by reading great books on places. Both speak of great accomplishment in any event.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: The fate of Arhats?

Postby kirtu » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:42 pm

Huseng wrote:I was doing some research and came across the following passage from the Mahāprajñāpāramitā-śāstra attributed to Nāgārjuna.


問曰:
阿羅漢先世因緣所受身必應當滅,住在何處而具足佛道?

答曰:
得阿羅漢時,三界諸漏因緣盡,更不復生三界。有淨佛土,出於三界,乃至無煩惱之名,於是國土佛所,聞《法華經》,具足佛道。如《法華經》說:「有羅漢,若不聞《法華經》,自謂得滅度;我於餘國為說是事,汝皆當作佛。

(CBETA, T25, no. 1509, p. 714, a9-15)



Question -- Arhats in their past lives must have extinguished all the conditions and conditions to be reborn into a new body. Where do they abide and perfect the Buddha's path?

Answer -- When one attains Arhatship, all contaminated causes and conditions of the three realms are extinguished and one is no longer reborn in the three realms. There is a pure Buddha-land beyond the three realms even being without the word 'defilements'. In this realm, the place of the Buddha, they hear the Lotus Sūtra, and perfect the Buddha's path. As the Lotus Sūtra says, "There are Arhats who think of themselves as having attained cessation if they have not heard the Lotus Sūtra. In another realm I explain this - you all will become Buddhas."



Other texts in East Asia explain that Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas receive a "transformation body" (變易身) when they are reborn outside the three realms in the aforementioned pure land.

Other Mahāyāna lines of thought suggest Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas are forever unable to attain Buddhahood. Bodhisattvas also run the risk of attaining Arhatship if they're not careful. One can realize liberation prematurely.

I've also heard some ideas that Arhats remain in a 'samadhi of non-abiding' until they are reborn as bodhisattvas. Does anyone know the source of this?


The general Tibetan Buddhist view is that Arhats and Praetyakabuddhas are reborn in a kind of Pure Realm and are intoxicated by samadhi. They remain in this state until roused by a Buddha after a very long period of time. They are then reborn as Bodhisattvas on a higher bhumi and get going again.

However I don't know the sutric or tantric source for this.

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Re: The fate of Arhats?

Postby Astus » Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:08 am

Question 1: Is there an end of samsara or there is existence beyond that?
Hinayana and some Mahayana teachings say there is an end, other Mahayana says there isn't. If there is an end there is parinirvana from what there is no return. If there is no end nobody can finish existence only change a samsaric to a nirvanic existence.

Question 2: Without an end what is non-samsaric existence?
The four kinds of lands of nobles (arhat, pratyekabuddha, bodhisattva, buddha) is an option. What exactly those are and how they differ from the usual six realms is something I have no definite information on besides the usual descriptions of specific buddha-lands. Or, as some sutras suggest, it is this realm we are in now with the difference being in the perspective of the beings thus it is very much like the case of nirvana-with-residue in Hinayana.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: The fate of Arhats?

Postby kirtu » Fri Jul 01, 2011 5:19 pm

Astus wrote:Question 1: Is there an end of samsara or there is existence beyond that?


There is actually no end to samsara overall. But an individual can put an end to samsara for themselves by attaining Buddhahood. But then they cause emanations to enter samsara for the benefit of all beings. So actually there isn't an end to the experience of samsara.

From the perspective of Tibetan Buddhism Arhats and Praetyakabuddhas enter an abiding nirvana in a kind of Pure Realm and are intoxicated by samadhi. This realm isn't a samsaric formless realm but other than that I don't know much about it.

If there is no end nobody can finish existence only change a samsaric to a nirvanic existence.


That's right in that sense. Mind never stops (or more correctly the mindstream doesn't end although at the culmination of ultimate enlightenment there is just wisdom).

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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: The fate of Arhats?

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jul 01, 2011 5:49 pm

I think there may be some difference amongst schools as to what constitutes a arhat. It perhaps must first be qualified as to that we are discussing the same thing.

In Tibetan buddhism arhat is....(Tib.dgra.bcom.pa/dra-chom-pa): literally "foe destroyer". The culimation of the Hinanyana, it refers to one who has overcome the outward manifestation of the afflicting emotions, but who has not completely uprooted their psychic imprint. Althought free of samsara, an Arhat is not fully enlightened.

The supreme worldly experiences---all the perfect powers, clairvoyance and meditative absorption, and so forth--are achieved through devotion to the Dharmakaya. Obscuration abandonment, cloairvoyance, miracle powers, and so forth--all the qualiteis of Hearer Arhats--are acheived by slight realization of Dharmakaya. Obscuration abandonment. meditative absorption, clairvoyance and so forth---all the qualities of Solitary Realizer Archats---are acheived by partial realization of Dharmakaya. Obscuration abandonment, meditative absorption, clairvoyance, and so forth--all the qualities of bodhisatttvas who attained bhumis---are achieved by greater realization of Dharmakaya.


Those bolded are quotes found in (the tibetaan buddhist catachism :smile: )The Jewel Ornament of Liberation by Gampopa, that edition translated by Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche.

Basically a arhat has removed all the gross manifestations of self in a mindstream but the very subtle annotation of self in the form of very subtle psychic imprint still persists. So total release is not possible.

I disagree with this, claiming that this stated is a predominant view but not the only view available in Tibetan Buddhism..."Mind never stops (or more correctly the mindstream doesn't end although at the culmination of ultimate enlightenment there is just wisdom)."

I contend and others that hold this view may contend..... that mind is always by its composite origin perceived as a never ending thing that presents as a eternal thing but the actuality may be differing. Any ending or begining would be a ultimate result of circumstantial production. But like water always being wet when it presents.....when presenting it presents as a continum or perceived as eternal.
Circumstances of production may produce a actual eternal presence of a thing, but that is different than stateing that a thing is actually eternal in inherantly existant quality present within it. That is true as well.

As to samsara ending......to end a thing must first have begun. Can we point to a begining of samsara..I'd guess probably not.
We cannot as well point to a minds begining but that may as with samsara point to our lacking ability to perceive truth father than truth or lack of truth being present in a thing.
WE perceive samsara as begining and ending.But is that in the character of samsara or in the character of the thing that perceives samsara..our mind.
I would state it is yes...all in mind.

Samsara for all intents and purposes never exist,s it is illusiionary and thusly can never be found to begin or end. ONly the illusion can begin or end.
Suchly we cannot characterize it in the terms of a thing that can begin or end.


How is this place of no illusion...examine the place before the first and second places of dependent origin, before the twelve links. They present in more substantial form after death and before begining rebirth but do present actually in every single part of what we may call a moment, so they may be examined.....that is how that place of no illusion is. Right before us, but no us may apprehend it, as us is part and parcel of its illusion.

So that is how nosamsara is.....observing will qualify that answer, words conceptually bound, do not.
Too attached to this illusion of self and other.... and we can't begin to look, and will firmly deny the existance of that place, that may be found within ourselves, and yet apart from ourselves. We are but micro bits of our perceived reality. WE will find no aspect of what is found real in us, to be not real in that place, nor what is not really found in us, be found in that place.

In conceptual form I will qualify it as such.....understanding knowing cognicizing is that place and all that we may find in any manner shape or form to exist or not exist in inert or aware form. That is what it is. What draws us away from that understanding is samsara....personal self. Initiated by aversion and attachment.
WE are for all intent and purposes are understanding things. Such is our composite and reality. That which does not understand due to delusion of seperate identity is samsara. So we create the perceived reality that reflects self and other. That is samsara...but it is but self created extreamly complex and filled with nuance and variance as our minds are but illusionary nevertheless in basis(none of this however implies inherantly existant) .

Understanding completely and totally the lack of inherant existance(through tantra, diety, yoga whatever) is the key to attaining full liberation to my personal opinion...but that is another subject. Without a teacher or teaching of formality, and total compassion as intention we cannnot obtain such complete liberation. Self will not be totally eradicated. Enought to prevent the illusion of presentation of samsara but enough to prevent the dichotomy of karma...I'd suppose not. But that is a personal assumption.

So the fate of arhats to my opinion...to either rebirth as bodhisttavas or to remain in pure pure places where they will never accumulate karma or karmic predispostions of action.....to my opinion, or way of thinking.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: The fate of Arhats?

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:35 pm

A Tibetan practice text I am a bit familiar with expresses this view..

" Some people say that the exalted arhats cannot create any new karma, since they have realized the emptiness (of reality), as indicated by the saying "The exalted arhats have completely eliminated disease, decay, misery, and death". This shows their confusion in differentiating between the levels of miseries---those that have been eliminated and those that are still being eliminated. A meditator who has extablished a stable insight into emptiness and has destroyed the vigorous clinging to substantive reality will no longer create any strong karma, He will, nevertheless, continue to create an illusion-like subtle karma until he has eliminated all his latent psychic imprints.

The Bodhicaryavatara clarifies this point:

By assimilating the emptiness of reality
One eliminates one's psychic imprints of substantiality
This view of emptiness that one has assimiliated
Will also be nullified.

The same text says furthur:

A magician creates the illusion of a woman
And then feels desire for her.
Because the magician himself has not abandoned
His inbred clinging to sensory objects,
His inclination toward emptiness is feeble,
Even though he sees her as unreal."...end quoting

So I suppose my personal viewpoint on this is not entirely personal in the regard of karma.


But of course a opposeing view from a theravadan site quoted..."The ordinary religionist thinks of heaven as the supreme goal of existence, where he thinks he can enjoy a sensuous existence in a sublimated form. Buddhism repudiates attachment to celestial existence as unworthy of the perfect Brahmachari. Even the higher forms of Brahmaloka existence is held in loathsomeness by the great Teacher because of the inexpressible sublimity of the eternal state of unconditioned Nirvana. Without Jhana there can be no acquisition of super knowledge (panna) without panna there can be no realizing of Jhana. The two together working in sympathy brings the devotee to the threshold of Nirvana. Nirvana is an abyakatadhamma. What it is only the perfected mind of the Arahat realizes. Neither the Sotapatti, Sakadagami or Anagami can have complete knowledge of Nirvana. The Sotapatti can hardly comprehend the mentality of the Sakadagami, and the Sakadagami is not able to know what is the state of the Anagami mind, and the Anagami if he dies without realizing the Arahat condition is born in one of the Suddahavasa brahmalokas where he lives for millions of years and then realized Nirvana. What is the final state of the Arahat consciousness? It is abyakata beyond speech, and only the Arahats know what it is. It is a state to be realized. Where the ten fetters operate there is no possibility of knowing the state of Nirvana."

M's would seemingly presuppose a ordinary and a supreme nirvana.
Perhaps a brahmaloka accomplishment would some state the ordinary nirvana as bolded.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: The fate of Arhats?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:39 pm

Astus wrote:Question 1: Is there an end of samsara or there is existence beyond that?
Hinayana and some Mahayana teachings say there is an end, other Mahayana says there isn't. If there is an end there is parinirvana from what there is no return. If there is no end nobody can finish existence only change a samsaric to a nirvanic existence.


It is a pretty profound step to suggest that reality never ceases. There is no passing away out of reality away from the rest of unenlightened sentient beings. One remains positively engaged with reality, though this being bliss for the truly enlightened bodhisattva.
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Re: The fate of Arhats?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:44 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:But of course a opposeing view from a theravadan site quoted..."The ordinary religionist thinks of heaven as the supreme goal of existence, where he thinks he can enjoy a sensuous existence in a sublimated form. Buddhism repudiates attachment to celestial existence as unworthy of the perfect Brahmachari. Even the higher forms of Brahmaloka existence is held in loathsomeness by the great Teacher because of the inexpressible sublimity of the eternal state of unconditioned Nirvana. Without Jhana there can be no acquisition of super knowledge (panna) without panna there can be no realizing of Jhana. The two together working in sympathy brings the devotee to the threshold of Nirvana. Nirvana is an abyakatadhamma. What it is only the perfected mind of the Arahat realizes. Neither the Sotapatti, Sakadagami or Anagami can have complete knowledge of Nirvana. The Sotapatti can hardly comprehend the mentality of the Sakadagami, and the Sakadagami is not able to know what is the state of the Anagami mind, and the Anagami if he dies without realizing the Arahat condition is born in one of the Suddahavasa brahmalokas where he lives for millions of years and then realized Nirvana. What is the final state of the Arahat consciousness? It is abyakata beyond speech, and only the Arahats know what it is. It is a state to be realized. Where the ten fetters operate there is no possibility of knowing the state of Nirvana."


This is just re-emphasizing statements in the Nikaya where the Buddha refused to speak of post-mortem existence or non-existence in the case of the tathāgata.

Still, some Mahāyāna scriptures have no problems saying Arhats are not as liberated as they thought they were and are reborn outside the Three Realms.
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Re: The fate of Arhats?

Postby Astus » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:13 pm

The small problem with an eternal world is that we practically arrive at a sort of dynamic Hindu philosophy where the ultimate aim is to arrive at the universal dharmadhatu - the realm of the eternal buddha. Thus we arrive at the problem of eternalism that was avoided by the early teachings.

"However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six contact media go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six contact-media, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification." Kotthita Sutta

Whatever samsaric or non-samsaric realm we would conceive falls within the domain of the six sense media. That's why I said that the Mahayana conception of the non-abiding nirvana - the basis for eternal buddhas - is virtually the nirvana-with-remainder.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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