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Basic terms




An arhat is a type of enlightened person in Buddhism. They have achieved enlightenment by following the teachings of a Buddha. Many of the Buddha's disciples became arhats.

The importance of the arhat is different depending on the Buddhist school.

The aim of becoming an arhat is to seek perfect calm and understanding in one's mind.

Meaning[change | change source]

"Arhat" is a Sanskrit word. It means "someone who deserves to be to honored."[1]

Theravada[change | change source]

The ultimate goal in Theravada Buddhism is to become an arhat. Someone who becomes an arhat is the same as someone who attains enlightenment. The Buddha is also sometimes called an "arhat."

Mahayana[change | change source]

In Mahayana Buddhism, bodhisattvas are seen as better than arhats. A bodhisattva will eventually become a Buddha, who can teach all living beings. An arhat can teach too, but only achieves enlightenment for him or herself.[2]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Whitney, D. W. Roots, Verb-forms and Primary Derivatives of the Sanskrit Language
  2. Williams, Paul. Buddhism. Vol. 3: The origins and nature of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Routledge. 2004. p. 119