Can an arahant become a Buddha?

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Can an arahant become a Buddha?

Postby starter » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:00 pm

Hello, Teachers/Friends,

A monk told me that one has to choose to become either an arahant or a Buddha, since the path is set after the choice is made -- a stream winner can't change his mind to become a buddha since he is destined to the arahantship within 7 lives. Did the Buddha teach like this?

I'm wondering if one could become an arahant first, and then become a Buddha. Can an arahant somehow continue his practice to become a Buddha? As I understand from MN1, arahants are liberated but not fully enlightened. Only a Buddha is both liberated and fully enlightened to the end. But the Buddha didn't explain what "fully enlightened to the end" means, and didn't teach us how to become "fully enlightened to the end".

Must a Buddha perfect all the paramis in many many aeons? Can one just become fully enlightened to the end without having to go through all these?

I know these thoughts are crazy ...

Metta to all,

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Last edited by starter on Thu Mar 03, 2011 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can an arahant become a Tathagata?

Postby ajahndoe » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:05 pm

There is only seeing things with Right View, and not seeing things with Right View.
What one chooses to do at any point is always an option.
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Re: Can an arahant become a Tathagata?

Postby upekha » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:18 am

Hi Starter,

From what I understand, a Tathagata, is one who over a long period of time develops the 30 kinds of Parami in order to become a future Buddha. In his final birth, there is no Dhamma being taught by others, hence, he has to himself find the way to achieve Nibbana.

However, an Arahath, follows the path that a Buddha has shown and then experiences Nibbana.

I hope this helps.

with metta
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Re: Can an arahant become a Tathagata?

Postby Kenshou » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:25 am

If we're talking about the Theravada, they're two words for the same thing.
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Re: Can an arahant become a Tathagata?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:13 am

Kenshou wrote:If we're talking about the Theravada, they're two words for the same thing.
Which is quite true. An arahant is a buddha. The Buddha is the suttas was far more radical than the later reworkings one finds in the Mahayana or later commentarial traditions.


That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is asankhata, free from the conditioned." SN IV 359 and SN IV 362

That which is the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is nibbana. SN IV 251 and IV 321

The destruction of greed, hatred, and delusion is arahantship. SN IV 252.

"Whoever frees himself from the passions of greed, hatred, and ignorance, they call him, one who is self developed, made divine, thus-gone (tathagata), awake (buddha), one who has left fear and hatred, and one who has let go of all." Itivuttaka 57

Since a tathagata, even when actually present, is incomprehensible, it is inept to say of him – of the Uttermost Person, the Supernal Person, the Attainer of the Supernal – that after death the tathagata is, or is not, or both is and is not, or neither is nor is not SN III 118

For the full text, see:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/su ... 2-086.html

(SN III 118: a tathagata is describing a tathagata.}

Of this Bhikkhu Bodhi states: “This should establish that “the Tathagata” here is not just “a being” [as the commentary states], but a Buddha or an arahant…” pg 1080 n163.

There is the case where a monk's conceit 'I am' is abandoned, its root destroyed, like an uprooted palm tree, deprived of the conditions of existence, not destined for future arising. This is how a monk is a noble one with banner lowered, burden placed down, unfettered.

"And when the devas, together with Indra, the Brahmas, & Pajapati, search for the monk whose mind is thus released, they cannot find that 'The consciousness of the one truly gone
(tathagata) 11/226 is dependent on this.' Why is that? The one truly gone (tathagata) is untraceable even in the here & now. – MN I 139

Ven Thanissaro’s FN: 11. The term "tathagata" is often, but not always, reserved for the Buddha. Sometimes, as in the case here, it is used to refer to the arahant.

Bhikkhu Bodhi’s fn 226, p 1210: “Thus Gone” is, in Pali, Tathagata, the usual epithet of the Buddha, but here applied more broadly to the arahant [following the commentary].”

The bodhi - awakening - of an arahant is no different from that of a Buddha.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Can an arahant become a Tathagata?

Postby starter » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:03 pm

Hello Teachers/Friends,

Many thanks for your kind comments. As to "The bodhi - awakening - of an arahant is no different from that of a Buddha", MN1 seems to indicate otherwise:

The Arahant

A monk who is a Worthy One, devoid of mental fermentations — who has attained completion, finished the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, destroyed the fetters of becoming, and is released [liberated] through right knowledge — directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive earth, does not conceive in earth, does not conceive out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because he has comprehended it, I tell you.

He directly knows water as water... the All as the All...

...

He directly knows unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive Unbinding, does not conceive in Unbinding, does not conceive out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because, with the ending of delusion, he is devoid of delusion, I tell you.

The Tathagata

The Tathagata — a worthy one, rightly self-awakened — directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive earth, does not conceive in earth, does not conceive out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has comprehended it to the end, I tell you.

"He directly knows water as water... the All as the All...

He directly knows Unbinding [nibbana] as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive Unbinding, does not conceive in Unbinding, does not conceive out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has comprehended it to the end, I tell you.

The Tathagata — a worthy one, rightly self-awakened — directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive earth, does not conceive in earth, does not conceive out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because he has known that delight is the root of suffering & stress, that from coming-into-being there is birth, and that for what has come into being there is aging & death. Therefore, with the total ending, fading away, cessation, letting go, relinquishment of craving, the Tathagata has totally [fully] awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening, I tell you.

...

As I understand now, the Buddha used The Tathagata to refer to himself, which is a "fully self-awakened" buddha who knows both "the all" (conditioned phenomena) and nibbana "to the end". Such descriptions are not used for an aranhant. Metta to all,

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Re: Can an arahant become a Tathagata?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:47 pm

starter wrote:Hello Teachers/Friends,

Many thanks for your kind comments. As to "The bodhi - awakening - of an arahant is no different from that of a Buddha", MN1 seems to indicate otherwise:
Not at all. The problem is you are jumping to a conclusion way too early. You need to do far more research.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Can an arahant become a Tathagata?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:07 pm

starter wrote:...

As I understand now, the Buddha used The Tathagata to refer to himself, which is a "fully self-awakened" buddha who knows both "the all" (conditioned phenomena) and nibbana "to the end". Such descriptions are not used for an aranhant. Metta to all,

Starter
And he also used tathagata to refer arahants, as the texts I quoted show. More research for you..
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Can an arahant become a Tathagata?

Postby PeterB » Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:06 pm

Can the blue man sing the whites ?
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