Reply To: Video illustrating the concept of Niraya (Hell)


Gad wrote: “it is reported that because the lay life could not properly support the life of an Arahant, one who becomes an Arahant as a lay person should ordain as a monk on the same day or pass away.”

  • That comment (and the last of his links) refers to the account of Santati, who was a layperson when he attained the Arahanthood.

1. What I have heard (from Waharaka Thero) is what I wrote in my previous comment: “A lay person cannot “bear” the Arahanthood. If a lay person attains Arahanthood, he/she MUST become a bhikkhu/bhikkhuni within seven days.”

  • However, I have not seen a Tipitaka reference for whether the time limit is a day or seven days. 

2. The account of Santati that I heard from Waharaka Thero was a bit different than what was described in Gad’s reference. 

  • What I heard is that Santati was traveling on an elephant’s back. The Buddha saw that he had only a couple of hours to live and had the capability to attain Arahanthood. So he went to meet Santati and delivered a short discourse while Santati was riding the elephant. When Santati attained Arahant (while on the elephant), the Buddha told him, “You have a short time to live. You should do something to let those watching know that you are now an Arahant.”
  • That is when Ven. Santati performed a “miracle.” He rose to the air and made his body burn while in the air as he was passing away.
  • In this account, he did not die because of the time limit for a “lay Arahant.” He was going to die at that time anyway.

3. As far as I know, there is no Tipitaka reference other than the Dhammapada verse (without further explanation.) It seems that there are different explanations by different people. However, it is possible that there is a more detailed account in the Tipitaka, possibly in the Vinaya Pitaka, that we are not aware of.

The verse is at “Santatimahāmattavatthu

  • Note the title of the verse: “Santatimahāmattavatthu.”
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