bharadwaja wrote:Thanks David for changing my username from Arhat to Bharadwaja.
OK let's start with Māra. This is not a proper name, it is an epithet, meaning "death" (from the verbal stem "mar-" i.e. to die). Keep in mind death was not viewed as an absolute in Indian culture, it is as temporary (and fleeting) as life. Māra (as the personification of death) is called so, since he causes spiritual death, and his quest is to keep the individual mired in saṃsāra (i.e. submerged within the "stream" of the life-death-life-death... swirl), whilst the Buddha by defeating him and keeping him in check has managed to cross the "stream" and figuratively "reach the other shore" and has thus escaped the duality of becoming/birth and unbecoming/death, hence he gets the epithet tathāgata (the one thus gone forth, to the other shore). The buddha takes the help of the raft called "dhamma" (i.e. dharma, dhar = "to bear") to cross the stream of saṃsāra and to that extent the vijjā "knowledge" of dhamma is the guide (acting against the "avijjā", which nivuta "covers/envelopes" the world) that takes one from the duality of saṃsāra, to the non-duality of nibbāṇa. Taṇhā (sensual thirst or craving), Arati (disgust), and Raga (inflammation/deep-passion) are figuratively the daughters of Māra who help him, to keep the individual mired in saṃsāra and not letting him/her reach the other shore. Hence the Buddha's battle with Māra and his conquest of Māra is an important occasion for it signifies the ascent to Buddha-hood (or arahant-hood). Māra does not go away, he keeps coming back to the Buddha with his daughters to tempt the buddha back into saṃsāra, but the buddha by striving (sramaṇa "striver" = one who undertakes srama "effort") manages to always keep Māra in check, and for this feat, he is called an arahant (i.e. ari "enemy"+ hant "destroyer").
Thanks for the detailed analysis.
I agree with what you've said except for the ideas of keeping Māra in check, sramaṇa meaning striver, and duality/non-duality.
The stock passage we hear many times over about the arahant is: "one who has reached fulfillment, done the task
, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed
the fetter of becoming, and is released through right gnosis". The phrases I underlined mean an end to striving, not a continuance of it. When one is done doing a task, one's striving to complete that task is done with. Figuratively, when the "enemy" (Māra) has been "destroyed", one is an arahant; this matches your own definition of "arahant". When something is "totally destroyed", that means it's been complete ended; it's not coming back. So, Māra has been ended for the arahant and there is no longer a need to strive against him or keep him in check. He's gone (for the arahant).
You've mentioned the duality/non-duality concept many times. However, I've never read anything that tries to explain things using that concept in the Pāli suttas. I've seen no mention of it. I have read about duality/non-duality in regards to Advaita Vedanta and some of the Mahayana schools. What is the source of your belief that this concept is part of the the Buddha's teachings?
EDIT: Given our discussion in the other thread, I set aside what I said before that is italicized.