Anyone who does not know much about Buddhism associates it with mindfulness virtues and practices. To be honest, this is true. However, other misconceptions associate it with a structure that does not involve any punishments or rules. But the truth is, this is a structure that helps Buddhists to become superior beings without the confinements or sufferings of this life.
What is an Arahant in Buddhism? What is the difference between an Arhat vs. Buddha? This is a question that can be hard to answer. Luckily, we have done an extensive research to find out the main difference between an Arhat and a Buddha.
What is the difference between an arhat and a Buddha? Here is a short and informative post to help.
What is an Arhat?
There are different traditions, which means that the definition can vary slightly. However, the main idea is that an arhat has renounced the past and anything attached to it. An arhat aims to understand life’s impermanence. After that, the arhat should make some rational decisions when it comes to emotions, selfishness, and desires.
An arhat simply represents a person’s capacity for liberation.
How does an Arhat differ from a Buddha?
One thing you will learn about a Buddha and an arhat, according to Theravada Buddhism, is that an Arahant is a purified and enlightened being.
The difference, however, is that there is a single Buddha in each eon or age. This person will discover dharma and teach it to others. Any being that achieves enlightenment during that age is an Arahant.
In other teachings, an arhat cannot be reborn as a Buddha will be after death.
Additionally, a Buddha achieves the desired enlightenment without help or without following others. An arhat, however, will achieve this enlightenment by learning from others’ teachings.
Is an Arahant a Buddha? An Arahant is not a Buddha. However, in certain teachings, a Buddha is an arhat. He will be addressed that way in certain contexts. That is because earlier teachings show that the Arhat will get to the same goals that a Buddha will get.
Can an Arhat Become a Buddha?
In different teachings, such as teachings from Theravada Buddhism, only one Buddha can be found at a single age. As you would imagine, this is a long time. Currently, the Buddha is Siddhartha Gautama. If any other being realizes that enlightenment during this age, he or she will be referred to as an arhat. This is the perfected one of the worthy ones.
The Buddha is the only one who can open the doors for the rest.
At the same time, there are traditions, such as Vajrayana and Mahayana that do not provide a limit on the Buddhas that can be in one age. However, in these traditions, people aim to become bodhisattvas, who vow to remain here till everyone else becomes enlightened.
Also, read: Difference Between Anapanasati And Vipassana
Different aspects differentiate the Arhat and the Buddha. As you will notice, some teachings portray the difference to have something to do with the level of enlightenment. In others, the difference is more about the methods used to achieve this enlightenment.