Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

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Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby DhammaRed » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:03 am

My understanding is that if an Arhat dies they go to parinirvana. However, somewhere I heard a belief that Arhats can choose to leave parinirvana to go on to become a buddha. A third thing I heard was that Arhats eventually have to become buddhas. What are the beliefs here?

thanks
-d
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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:30 am

DhammaRed wrote:My understanding is that if an Arhat dies they go to parinirvana. However, somewhere I heard a belief that Arhats can choose to leave parinirvana to go on to become a buddha. A third thing I heard was that Arhats eventually have to become buddhas. What are the beliefs here?

thanks
-d
I recall that Arhats attain something called "the Arhat sphere" outside of Samsara and after eons of peace strive (and quickly gain) full Buddhahood. This is according to Liberation in the Palm of your hand so it may be different in other schools.
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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Virgo » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:28 am

Yes Arhats are released from samsara and remain absorbed in concentration. After much time, they either see themselves that there is a higher path, or are awoken by Buddhas. Then they go to a Pure Land and train to develop deeper wisdom.

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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Caz » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:17 am

DhammaRed wrote:My understanding is that if an Arhat dies they go to parinirvana. However, somewhere I heard a belief that Arhats can choose to leave parinirvana to go on to become a buddha. A third thing I heard was that Arhats eventually have to become buddhas. What are the beliefs here?

thanks
-d


Yes this is true eventually Arhants will be Enlightened, While liberated they still possess very subtle Ignorance and no Intention of Bodhichitta so these are virtues still left to be perfected. May the Buddha's awake them quickly. :thumbsup:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Nosta » Thu Dec 01, 2011 9:56 pm

Isnt an Arhat already enlightened?

And if they are "out of samsara", isnt that nirvana by itself? Samsara is the cycle of suffering, so, being out of suffering is Nirvana.

I dont understand that, can someone explain it better please?

Finally, if an Arhat is not on paranirvana state, since Theravada is more centered on Arhatanship, does that means that a Theravada follower is following the "harder way" towards Nirvana?
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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:39 am

Hmmmm..some very dim recollections here :smile: ..

I think perhaps that one may remove the attachments to self which remove for all intents and purposes suffering but suffering may be still reengaged if one retains a very subtle sense of self. This subtle sense of self being very very difficult to completely remove. Other means being necessary for complete eradicattion of that subtlest sense. But that subtleest sense removal being necessary for complete enlightenment. Arhats being considered in M in many respects to be a not complete enlightenment.

M's generally state that...the sutric path being possible for complete enlightenment but it takes very much longer.
Bodhicitta being considered to be absolutely necessary for the transition from arhat to buddha in that same way of thinking.

Asked what we believe in the initial, I will state that but with qualification.
I am not trolling or just stirring up trouble aiming at M's but I hold not that view. So this is another view but one I have thought about. If only M opinion was desired just disregard this. M is the forum but not stated is that only M's may reply so maybe I am OK to reply. I hold not that vow.

In any event.....a arhat I would assume would consider that the idea of bodhicitta is impossible. If for instance..... one is always rebirthing as human to help human and we are all doing that thing.....what then the result. Would not many then at times due to rebirth and circumstance perhaps forget or be unable to have result of compassion....then if all did that thing.... would not no person be saved from this suffering...all just coming back again and again to help another....all then saved from suffering and not saved do come back to suffering.
Things then eventually just as they are right now..some remembering some missing some attaining things but pretty much the same.
Could a arhat consider that samsara is perhaps a living thing as alive as sentient being within it alive. Thusly being such would samsara as living thing not abhore anything that could or would release from it and not be it....and then perhaps bodhicitta being the best of the best for that thing of enslavement....so they that are close.... would not seek release and devote ultimate energy to it, but instead aim at that other things adhering compassion to a thing that by nature needs no adherance? As result being.....coming back as opposed to leaving. Nice in theory but in the real....as with tulkus and such like as not they decide to pursue other path.

So noone is really saved from suffering. Some overtly suffering some suffering to bring others from suffering but still by constraints of samsara...suffering if nothing else the pain of birth and death. If samsara be living organism with design then that would be means for a end. The end being....that none escape.

So if that is considered ones view would then could a buddha arise from faulted view....a arhat I would suppose would say not. Eventually that may indeed produce buddhahood we could presume but in the interium is it not propogating and furthuring the suffering....I would suppose so.

So a arhat I would suppose would think compassion is naturally present in the real way things are themselves, and no working at, nor coming back, be necessary. Compassion being inherant to existance, if not...how could a first buddha teacher appear. If not present at times not the teaching...how then the first....no a arhat may say....they are always present in the real....as such they will appear, so we need not to work at it in that fashion.

So this in defense of arhats....perhaps they may think or say those things. Others may say or think things of arhats...but can one really say this thing of arhat?

A arhat perhaps then saying in final...bodhicitta being means for eradication of self it being very important to do that thing suchly of compassion and think of compassion in that fashion, but in the end.....it being not necessary in final things nor a compete thing...but means, necessary but still means not end.
Which would have bodhisttava as arhat to arhat in their way of thinking.

Not saying things are this way or that but that people will not intentionally do incomplete or stupid things. They think always in their heart these or those things be necessary...perhaps a arhat may not consider their enlightenment just a partial one.
Last edited by ronnewmexico on Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Virgo » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:43 am

Nosta wrote:Isn't an Arhat already enlightened?

Yes, but not Omniscient. There is a big difference.

And if they are "out of samsara", isnt that nirvana by itself? Samsara is the cycle of suffering, so, being out of suffering is Nirvana.

They have reached Nirvana, yes, but not complete Buddhahood.

Finally, if an Arhat is not on paranirvana state, since Theravada is more centered on Arhatanship, does that means that a Theravada follower is following the "harder way" towards Nirvana?

It is a longer way to Omniscience. A quicker route for personal freedom.

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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby ground » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:53 am

Be that as it may be. I think Buddhas have to abandon dukkha first before they can lead Arhats to highest enlightenment :lol:
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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:16 am

DhammaRed wrote:My understanding is that if an Arhat dies they go to parinirvana. However, somewhere I heard a belief that Arhats can choose to leave parinirvana to go on to become a buddha. A third thing I heard was that Arhats eventually have to become buddhas. What are the beliefs here?

thanks
-d


I wrote an article about the fate of arhats from a classical Chinese Buddhist perspective.

https://sites.google.com/site/dharmadep ... -of-arhats

The key point is addressed by Nāgārjuna in the Mahāprājñā-pāramitôpadeśa as follows:


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 receive 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, if they have not heard the Lotus Sūtra, think of themselves as having attained cessation. In another realm I explain this - you all will become buddhas."



In other words, arhats attain rebirth outside the three realms (desire realm, form realm and formless realm), whereupon they continue onward towards Buddhahood. The main point of ekayāna (single vehicle doctrine as outlined in the Lotus Sūtra) is that all beings without exception, including arhats and pratyekabuddhas, attain unexcelled perfect buddhaood.
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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:26 am

I would expect that is true...."is that all beings without exception, including arhats and pratyekabuddhas, attain unexcelled perfect buddhaood." it being all ,time frame, determining success with this thing....or do you mean all arhats and pratyekabuddhas only attain unexcelled buddhahood..... ?
"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: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:31 am

Nosta wrote:Isnt an Arhat already enlightened?


According to Mahāyāna an arhat still has ignorance. If they were completely free of ignorance, they would be buddhas, not arhats. They do not possess omniscience. Even in early Buddhism in India the Mahāsāṃghika proposed that arhats were fallible in that they could be led astray by others and could be subject to doubt.

And if they are "out of samsara", isnt that nirvana by itself? Samsara is the cycle of suffering, so, being out of suffering is Nirvana.


The definitions change with Mahāyāna.

Saṃsāra is to nirvāṇa as illness is to health.

A bodhisattva can still operate within ordinary reality without being subject to suffering. They even voluntarily take rebirth to be of benefit to other sentient beings. Realization of emptiness, even at a level below that of a buddha's realization, enables one to operate in reality with a whole other set of parameters.

Compassion and wisdom are non-dual. The Buddhas think of all sentient beings as themselves. On a lesser level so do bodhisattvas, and hence dropping out of reality permanently and not being able to interact with and aid sentient beings would simply be in stark contrast to wisdom and in turn compassion.

Finally, if an Arhat is not on paranirvana state, since Theravada is more centered on Arhatanship, does that means that a Theravada follower is following the "harder way" towards Nirvana?


All beings eventually attain buddhahood. It might take longer for an arhat.

In any case, according to the numbers provided in the Vibhāṣā, a key Nikāya compendium of knowledge, arhatship became impossible sometime in the 15th century assuming the Buddha died in the 5th century BCE. It is possible, however, to be a anāgāmin or non-returner. If this is true there are no more arhats in our world today.
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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:36 am

ronnewmexico wrote:I would expect that is true...."is that all beings without exception, including arhats and pratyekabuddhas, attain unexcelled perfect buddhaood." it being all ,time frame, determining success with this thing....or do you mean all arhats and pratyekabuddhas only attain unexcelled buddhahood..... ?


They will attain buddhahood in time.
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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Mr. G » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:22 pm

Huseng wrote:In other words, arhats attain rebirth outside the three realms (desire realm, form realm and formless realm), whereupon they continue onward towards Buddhahood.


Outside the three realms? A Pure land?
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    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Astus » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:10 pm

Mr. G wrote:Outside the three realms? A Pure land?


It isn't really pure if it's within the three realms, is it? ;)

Anyway, after early Buddhism first the idea of arhatship was raised to very high, then gradually in Mahayana they made it into a very low level of attainment, something dangerous and more detrimental than committing the 5 worst crimes. I find it better to view it as a religious concept and how it changed through the ages if one is looking for the big picture. Otherwise, there are different traditions and interpretations within Buddhism, including the view (in Mahayana) that arhats simply attain nirvana and that's all.
"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)

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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: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Indrajala » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:58 am

Mr. G wrote:
Huseng wrote:In other words, arhats attain rebirth outside the three realms (desire realm, form realm and formless realm), whereupon they continue onward towards Buddhahood.


Outside the three realms? A Pure land?



This is what the scriptures state.

It is said that practitioners of the two vehicles (arhats and pratyekabuddhas) have knowledge of the three realms, but no knowledge of beyond the three realms.
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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Indrajala » Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:01 am

Astus wrote: Otherwise, there are different traditions and interpretations within Buddhism, including the view (in Mahayana) that arhats simply attain nirvana and that's all.


Such a view is easily refuted with scripture and reasoning, just like holding that icchantikas can never attain liberation.
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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Astus » Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:02 am

Huseng wrote:Such a view is easily refuted with scripture and reasoning, just like holding that icchantikas can never attain liberation.


As always, it depends on what scriptures you consider definitive and how you interpret things.
"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: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby Thug4lyfe » Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:20 am

I think Arhats will do fine without us worrying about them!
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Re: Do Arhats have to become Buddhas?

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Dec 09, 2011 6:08 am

Agree completely..like discussing varying qualities one may have when becoming enlightened.....a bit silly us being so far from that and this.

Like a begining meditator being scared of entering the formless realm as result of their faulted meditation...a bit silly.

My opinion..all will become enlightened eventually. It is all a matter of time. When as opposed to if.
Hence buddhism to incite the process, with means.
"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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