Arahanthood, Bhikkhu(ni) and death

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    • #13966


      I’ve got a question about why one would need to become a bhikkhu(ni) upon attaining Arahanthood. In the post quote below from this page, Lal describes characteristics of Arahants:

      In the same way, the “Arahanthood” can be “borne” or be “sustained” only with a solid human body; once the gandhabba comes out of that body –upon the death of that physical body — the “Arahanthood” cannot be “borne” by that very fine body. In fact, the “Arahanthood” cannot be “borne” by a even a lay person for more than 7 days; once attaining the “Arahanthood“, one must become a Bhikkhu within 7 days, or one will die, because a lay person cannot “bear” the “Arahanthood“.

      My questions are why would one need to be a Bhikkhu(ni)? in seven day? and what is classified as a Bhikkhu(ni)? What is the cause here for the death? harm to others? energy levels that do what to “lay” people?

      With metta,
      Donna :)

    • #13967

      Yes. This is something that is difficult to understand for people those who are new to Buddha Dhamma. While there are many myths associated with Buddha Dhamma (i.e., ability to bring in rain with prayers, etc), there are some phenomena like this that are genuine.

      When one becomes an Arahant, there are some drastic changes that happens in one’s physical body, in addition to those in the mind. For example, one’s bones get crystallized and can survive thousands of years. These are called “dhatu”. Buddha’s dhatu survive (in open caskets), and are being worshipped even today. They are supposed to survive until the end of Gotama Buddha’s Buddha Sasana (Ministry), which is supposed to last 2500 years more.

      The reason that an Arahant‘s body cannot stay alive as a “householder” is similar to the reason that an Arahant will not be reborn even if more kammic energy for the human bhava is left. The mindset of an Arahant cannot be “born” with the body of a gandhabba. Why an Arahant needs to become a bhikkhu(ni) is a bit more complex. But becoming a bhikkhu(ni) makes a difference.

      However, becoming an Arahant will not happen accidentally, so one does not need to worry. One WILL know if that happens. It is very difficult to attain.

      Long before that one would become an Anagami, and that is not easy either. It should be relatively easy to verify whether one has become an Anagami. One would have lost all sensual cravings (for food, music, scents, any person or anything including one’s possessions like money, houses, properties, and sex). So, there will be many drastic changes in one’s mindset as well as in one’s body well before one gets to the Arahant stage.

    • #23646
      Tobias G

      Link Nibbana exists

      Post #11 says: “…But the fine body (trija kaya) of the gandhabba cannot “bear” the energy associated with an Arahant. In the same way, the fine bodies of a deva or a brahma also cannot….”

      That means if a deva or a brahma attains Arahanthood it cannot live any longer and will immediately reach Parinibbana .

    • #23647

      That is the logical conclusion, Tobias.

      However, I am not 100% certain about that applying to devas. Devas have very fine bodies compared to humans, but those are “much more dense” than bodies of brahmas. Devas can utilize all five physical senses (but of course, we cannot directly compare their experiences to ours).
      – We do know that human Arahants do live “in this world” until the death of the physical body and attain Parinibbana (full Nibbana or total dissociation from “this world of 31 realms”) only when the physical body dies and the gandhabba separates from it.
      – But I do not recall “direct accounts” in the Tipitaka about devas or brahmas attaining Parinibbana upon attaining the Arahanthood. However, since the “body” of a brahma is just a few suddhashtaka just like a human gandhabba coming out of a dead human body, it is very likely that a brahma attains Parinibbana upon attaining the Arahanthood.
      – On the other hand, I also have not seen any accounts about “Arahant devas or brahmas” in the Tipitaka either.

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