Comparison between Arahant in Theravada tradition Boddhisattava in Mahayana Tradition


As we all know the popular schools of Buddhism in present day is TheravŒda and MahŒyŒna . Although both are accept sakyamunibudhha as a master , there are some fundamental different between two schools . One is emphasis to liberate being Arahantahood, the others is emphasis to help others as a Boddhisattava and finally to liberate as a sammŒsambuddha himself . Actually, TheravŒda does not speak too much about Boddhisattava except previous life of the Buddha as a SumedŒ or future Buddha . The term Boddhisattava derived from Buddha which means to know to understand . Another definition is that boddhisattava derive from boddhi which means enlightenment or wisdom .Satta means devoted to or intent to therefore, One who aspire to be come Buddha is boddhisattava or one who aspire to be enlightenment in the earlier record of Pali literature found the term Yana or Magga as have been mentioned noble eightfoldpath later mentioned bodhi as the noble eightfold path.

In the book of What Buddhist believe by Ksridhammananda mentioned that A bodhisattava is a beings devoted to Enlightenment . As a compassionate being Boddhisattava is destined to attain Buddhahood , and become a future Buddha through the cultivation of the mind . On the other hand , Arahant seeks to salvation by himself . It is believed by certain Buddhist as a selfish motive because everyone , they claim , must try to become a Buddha in order to save others .This particular belief has absolutely no ground in the Teaching of the Buddha . In this regard , doesn’t Arahant help others ? or How does Arahant helps others ? while Boddhisattava is helping others physically or spiritually . So, in this paper I will discuss regarding this two concept . Regarding the boddhisattava or to be Buddha is the rarely opportunity for Buddhist and for all because everybody can become Buddha no others religious has such as type of chance to become Buddha . There are eleven popular religious in the world , among them only Buddhism and Jainism have such as kind of opportunity . For Buddhist only human being can be Buddha and there are two ways one is one who can train to be a Buddha what we call it Parami vimutti ways the others is the ways that can attain Niravana as a disciples of Buddha what we call it Pyanna vimutti ways but Mahayana accept the first ways of becoming Buddha himself vowing it . Although Mahayana follow first ways Theravada also has like this vowing method or full filling perfection . But view of two tradition are different . Where the started the view is that Theravadian achieves their final gold to the Arahanta magga and phala , the fruition of attainment level in the world having appeared Buddha . Besides , Mahayana is towards achieving the boddhisattava more then attainment of Arahant . But basis teachings of buddha are both the same such as four noble truth , noble eightfold path , and dependent origination.

Boddhisattava vow

One has to have Abhnihara In order to have a wish to become Buddha. Abhinihara means first aspiration of a Bodhisattva. Abhinihara to be effective eight conditions shoulod be fulfilled:

The aspirant or the Bodhisattva should be:

1. a human being - (Manussatta)
2. a male - (Linga sampatti)
3. He should be able to become Arhant in that very life. – (Hetu)
4. He should be able to see live Budda. (Satthara dassan)
5. He should be a recluse at that time or get a declaration. (Pabbajja)
6. Jhanas should be possessed by him. (Gunasampatti).
7. He should be prepared to sacrifies his life to a Buddha – (Adhikara)
8. He should be willing to follow the Bodhisattva path . (Chandata)

There are threefold should be done for boddhisattava .They are ManopanidŒna=resolution made by mind similarly mentioned boddhicitta , vagpanidŒna = resolution made by words and Kayapanidana = resolution made by body . For example ascetic Sumeda , he has done this things verbally and bodily . From that time onward full filling the Parami , perfection , for Mahayana six perfection and for Theravada ten perfection . According to the Buddhism everyone can become Buddha but Mahayana is more emphasis to become boddhisattava then becoming Buddha always ready for help others and dedicate himself to help others . For Theravadian worshiping Buddha is asking some things , help , wealth , fame and prosperity so on . As the Theravada point of view Boddhisattava was no more after having enlightened but for Mahayana Boddhisattava still alive in the heaven . According to Theravada tradition , the Bodhisatta, even in his past existence as the hermit Sumedha, although he could liberate himself from samsāra by becoming disciple of the Buddha Dipangkar, took the aspiration to become a Buddha himself in order to save all beings .

Thus after receiving the prophecy from the Buddha Dipagara that he would become a Buddha in the future, he began to undertake the course of practice for becoming a Buddha consisting of fulfillment of the ten perfections (Paramis), the five great sacrifices (Pancapariccaga) and the threefold noble practice(Cariyas).The selfless, relentless and steadfast fulfillment of the perfections and sacrifices in the countless lives of the Bodhisatta is so difficult and strenuous that an average person would not even dare to think of it .

All the countless and incomparable meritorious deeds that the Bodhisatta had accumulated yielded their combined results in his last existence as Prince Siddhattha. Consequently, the final results of the wholesome Kamma were complete in every respect . When the Mahayana vows for bodhi , it is three kinds , Savakabodhi, Piccekabodhi and Bodhisatta but in Theravada there are Pakatisavaka, Mahasavaka , Aggasavaka , Mahabodi , Piccekabodhi in term of period of full filling perfection . To become a Buddha, one has to fulfill the Paramis (necessary qualities for becoming a Buddha) for four, eight or sixteen Incalculables and 100,000 worlds cycles; but for a Pacceka-Buddha the time is only two Incalculables and 100,000 world cycles. Among the Disciples, for an Aggasavaka, the time required is one Incalculable and 100,000 world cycles, while for a Mahasavaka, it is only 100,000. But for the Pakatisavaka, it may be just one life, or a hundred lives, or a thousand lives, or more. It is important to note that once a person becomes an arahant, he will not become a Buddha in that life; and since there is no more rebirth for him, he will not become a Buddha in the future either.

For the Theravada point of views one should be free from suffering is more importance then become boddhisattava and helping others .That is why, First you must become suitable position ,

Attanameva pathamam Patirupe nivesaye Athanna manusŒseyya ,
then you can advice others , nakeleseyyapandito. Such a wise men will not be blamed by others . This is the Theravada position of views on the idea of Aranhat but for the Mahayana tradition becoming Arahant is selfish .

Who is Arahant ?

Arahant is the one having eradicated all defilement is call aranant khinasava khina= asava one who eradicate canker , achieve the liberation after becoming Arahant , exclamed I have full fill the noble conduct in the Sasana , exclaiming This is my last birth , is Arahant .

Khina jati vusitam
Kutam karaniyam
Brahmacariyam ayamam
Tinanajati ntthidani punnabhavo

Arahant is know as one who achieve higher stream , Ohitabhara = what he has draw the piccakhanda bara , burdens of five aggregate . Araham arahoTi nŒmena= Thravada used the term definition of Arahant by naming araha:-

Araham papam nakaraye = he does not do demerits ,
Arahatta phalam patto = he become frut of Arahan
raham namatemuni = that is the name of aranat ,

Another definition of Arahant is that According to Theravada Buddhist teachings, an arahant is a person who has reached the fourth and highest stage of enlightenment. All those who have reached this stage are called arahants, worthy ones. Worthy of what? Worthy of accepting gifts from devotees, because gifts made to those persons bring abundant results. According to this definition, all those who have reached this stage, both disciples and Buddhas (and Pacceka-Buddhas also), are called arahants. There are three type of Buddha sammasambuddha, the one who enlightened the truth by him own effort ,piccekabuddha ,individual Buddha personal Buddha and arahantabuddha , the one understanding the truth with the help of others and also there are three type of Buddha according to their effort . They are Saddhadika , Viriyadia and Pyannadika . For the Saddhadika Buddha to become arahant one has to practice Bhramacariya life , Buddha is one who discover the Bhramacariya life , there no other then Bhramacariya life , which is noble eightfold path basis on Sila , morality samadi , concentration , Pyanna , wisdom . This type of practice only can find in the Buddhism no others religious thus , Arahants also must have in the Buddhism no other religious .

Is the Arahant a selfish ?

According to Venerable Bhikkhubodhi , mentioned in his book of the noble eight fold path sammasankappa is translated as right intention consisting of three comphonets , renounciation , compassion and lovely kindness . So, in this regard noble eightfold path is path of arahanta as the Venerable bhikkhbodhi mentioned sammasamkappa is consider as three comphonets so, as the Boddhisattava has compassion arahant also has compassion , renounciation and lovely kindness too and another idea is that refraining from demerits it has been served for all by the ways of good . For example the one who is refraining from telling lie , then become speaker of truth . In this ways , Arahant is pure and never do bad things or evil conduct even in the public and secret place . In this idea , Arahant serves the entire society . According to the Theravada tradition position of Arahant is the highest field of beings , anuttaram punyakhatta lokassa ,the people can sold in the field of arahant , so, Mahayana concept of Boddhisattava according to the social need . Arahant gives advice to the people , Atthena , wealth how to get happiness not only for next life but also for this life instructing four Sammpada outthanasampada ,Arakkha sampada , Samjivitata and Kalyanamittata and so on , money collected by hand , Dhammena . = show in the ways how to get libration , arahant dedicate this two things to show , therefore, life of arahant is no selfish .

Mot of the people think that Theravada tradition is only for Arahant infact , Thearavada tradition can become a Buddha or a Piccekabuddha and an arahant according to personal choice. So, Theradava is for all three path no for the path to arahantship only .

Why does Theravada choice arahanta path ?

Although Theravada can choose three path , speak much of about Arahatn is that only very a few can become Buddha and aspiration of Buddha need to go samsara circle of death and birth suffering for long time . For Arahant sometime in the Theravada tradition mentioned that having listened the Dhamma immediately become Arahant according to the personal capacity . Buddha gives example like a burning house in this five aggregate . What we can take out from this burning house is sila morality , samadi concentration , Pyanna wisdom . Only the ways is liberation as possible as we can .

Comparison and conclusion

The most notable things is that ultimate goal of both are the same .The ultimate goal for both Boddhisattava and Arahant is to reach enlightenment and to end the cycle of samsara . This fundamental commonality is worth mentioning because it is practical to remember that at the most basic level of analysis, the objective of all Buddhists is the same. A doctrine that is central to all Buddhist traditions is that all sentient beings want happiness and freedom from suffering. In the same way, all Buddhists want liberation and freedom from samsāra. Keep this in mind as we explore the differences between the two schools because the reason the bodhisattva and the arahant are eventually reconcilable comes back to the similarity of their most central beliefs.

The way of the bodhisattva is presented by the great Buddhist teacher Shantideva, and it is his text, the Bodhicharyavatara, which is the basis of this philosophy. Within it are constantly repeated phrases like “With joy I celebrate/ The virtue that relieves all beings/ From the sorrows of the states of loss” (Shantideva 49) and “May I provide [all beings] livelihood and nourishment/ Until they pass beyond the bonds of suffering”. Concern for other beings and a desire to delay enlightenment until all other beings attain it as well are central teachings which are constantly repeated whenever Mahāyāna texts refer to the bodhisattva path .

Venerable Khemavamsa (IBC )

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