Reply To: Four Types of Learners


“Thank you, my friend Sammasambodhi. I forgot to mention that the ascetic Sumedha could have become an arahant during the time of Lord Dipankara. However, he chose to give up this opportunity to become Lord Buddha Gautama.

  • We both agree that one must start somewhere to become a Lord Buddha, a disciple, or a Paccekabuddha. To become one of these, an individual must have been a padaparama person in the sasanas of the past. King Ajatasattu and Devadatta are examples of individuals who understood the Dhamma very well. Lord Gautama said that if Ajatasattu had not committed anantariya karma, he would have become a Sotāpanna. However, he will become a Paccekabuddha after his sentence in the Nirayas. Devadatta will also become a Paccekabuddha. The layman Arahant Santati understood the Dhamma during the time of Lord Buddha Vipassi, which was 91 Maha kappas ago. Santati, who was a messenger of Lord Vipassi, explained the Dhamma to others. It took him 91 eons to achieve Nibbāna. As a padaparama, he developed all the faculties necessary to become a type 1 person (Ugghatitannu). He is one of the rare lay arahants and he understood the Dhamma in just a few verses.”
  • The point is that we all have to start somewhere, in this infinite Samsara. Before our bodhisatta received his first confirmation there was no guarantee that he would become a Lord Buddha. Don’t forget, many make this wish but few succeed. Those who give up become arahants very quickly with great teaching abilities. It is safe to say that he was a Padaparama person. He met 24 Lord Buddhas and countless numbers before his journey. Those of the first and second types were padaparama.
  • This also makes sense when reading the story of Jotipāla. Jotipāla was our bodhisatta during the time of Lord Buddha Kassapa. He became a monk under the dispensations but did not attain any fruit of Magga phala. He didn’t even know he was a bodhisatta until Lord Kassapa said so. He was a padaparama person who accumulated the 10 paramis to become a Lord Buddha. Some are bodhisattas and don’t even know it. They make trial and error. He even insulted Lord Kassapa. A bodhisatta is not that perfect either. He is still a Puthujuna subject to the apayas. We see many jatakas where he was an animal. Of course, it doesn’t fall as much as a regular puthujunas.