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A question on Arahant

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  • binh_anson@yahoo.com
    (Note from Organiser for Lay members: The message is for your information only) ... G day Bhantes, I have received a message from a Dhamma friend, which I hope
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 26, 2001
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      (Note from Organiser for Lay members:
      The message is for your information only)
      G'day Bhantes,

      I have received a message from a Dhamma friend, which I hope you
      could assist to answer his query. His message is attached below.


      Binh Anson


      [...] During my studies I came up with a question that I am not
      able to resolve myself and hope you could help me or ask someone
      nearby that could help. One of my field of interests in Buddhism,
      besides practice of course, is the distinction Mahayana-Hinayana,
      how it came about and the issues around it.

      Today, while I was reading through the third volume of Anguttara
      I came across a passage at Pa.thamahita Sutta, A.iii.12 (I
      inserted the Pali passage in Vri font). PTS translation runs

      'Herein, monks, a monk is accomplished in virtue himself, but
      does not strive to perfect virtue in another'...

      (the same is repeated for concentration, wisdom, release
      (vimutti) and vision and knowledge of release).

      Now, I find that this passage, and many similar I found in
      Samyutta and Anguttara is a strong support that the Canon Pali
      emphasizes to search for liberation and all the rest for oneself
      and the others, placing itself above the later criticism of
      Mahayana proponents that accused Hinayana folowers as of
      searching for liberation only for themselves. The other passages
      I found make it clear that one should strive for the good of the

      Now, this particular passage in particular different from the
      others, say that the monk is *already* accomplished in all those
      factors, including release, while, at the same time does not
      strive for the other's release. Now, I find that this particular
      passage opens the way for Mahayana criticism as it seems to be
      saying that it's possible to be an Arahant (accomplished in
      release) and at the same time not strive for the release of
      others. In other words, Buddha criticizes a particular kind of
      Arahant that does so. And that was the Mahayana criticism, that
      there was a kind of Arahant.


      Could it be possible to interpret 'sampanno' in another way so
      that the meaning would be different. Or is that that the Buddha
      really makes a criticism of the Arahant? Would there be two kind
      of Arahant, one the was accomplished only for himself and another
      *more complete*?


      Paµhamahitasutta½ A.iii.12

      17. "Pañcahi, bhikkhave, dhammehi samann±gato bhikkhu attahit±ya
      paµipanno hoti, no parahit±ya. Katamehi pañcahi? Idha, bhikkhave,
      bhikkhu attan± s²lasampanno hoti, no para½ s²lasampad±ya
      sam±dapeti; attan± sam±dhisampanno hoti, no para½
      sam±dhisampad±ya sam±dapeti; attan± paññ±sampanno hoti, no para½
      paññ±sampad±ya sam±dapeti; attan± vimuttisampanno hoti, no para½
      vimuttisampad±ya sam±dapeti; attan± vimuttiñ±ºadassanasampanno
      hoti, no para½ vimuttiñ±ºadassanasampad±ya sam±dapeti. Imehi kho,
      bhikkhave, pañcahi aªgehi samann±gato bhikkhu attahit±ya
      paµipanno hoti, no parahit±y±"ti. Sattama½.

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