THE FOUR STAGES OF SAINTHOOD
Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami, Arahat
The four stages of enlightenment in Buddhism are the four progressive stages culminating in full enlightenment as an Arahat, which an average, instructed person can attain in this life. The four stages are Sotapanna,Sakadagami, Anagami and Arahat.
The teaching of the four stages of enlightenment is a central element of theearly Buddhist schools, including the Theravada school of Buddhism, which still survives.
The Ordinary person
An ordinary person or pruthajjana (Pali; Sanskrit: pṛthagjanai.e. pritha : without, and jnana : knowledge) is trapped in the endless cycling ofsansara. One is reborn, lives, and dies in endless rebirths, either as a deva, human, animal, male, female, neuter, ghost, deity, divinity, or hellion, or various other entities on different categories of existence.
There are a total of 31 planes of existence divided into three realms. The lowest realm is the realm of sensuality (kama-loka) with the human world being the lowest fortunate world. Above this realm is the fine material realm (rupa-loka), with numerous deva worlds : The lowest classes of devas (1) thedesire realm devas devote their time to enjoying and satisfying sense desires. Higher up are the (2) form and (3) formless devas and brahmas. Having passed beyond sensual desires, the form devas experience the refined bliss of the first four meditative absorptions (jhanas) and possess subtle bodies emanating light. Transcending form, the devas of the formlessrealm (arupa-loka) reside in subtle conscious states known as unbounded space, unbounded consciousness, nothingness, and neither perception nornon-perception.
Although these devas and brahmas live extremely long lives of ease and luxury in worlds that may be described as paradises, they are not immortal. They too will eventually pass away, often falling to a lower state of existence either because it is difficult for them to find the motivation to practice the Dharma (which creates profitable karma) since they can also submit to distractions, or, since pure deva consciousness is yet within samsara, because some cycle of ignorance, craving for continued existence, or holding a self-view, exhausts their merit or good karma. Such a death means there was not enough spiritual progress. They fall, but they may also take rebirth on the same plane or rise to a higher plane. Unfortunately they may fall as far as the subhuman plane.
There are numerous lower or unfortunate planes below the human world: The least painful is (1) theanimal realm (e.g., insects, birds, fish, mammals, etc.). Their lives are characterized by instinct and emotions having to do with survival. Then there is (2) the hungry spirit plane, which is characterized by long periods of hunger and thirst and lack that is difficult to bear. Finally, the lowest plane is (3) thehell planes, where beings are relentlessly tormented depending on the plane (pierced, scalded, tortured, frosted, etc.) by the fears arising from their delusional mind as a result of unprofitable karma. The suffering continues for what seems like an eternity but eventually the karma that sustained that existence is exhausted and the hell beings (narakas) pass away and are reborn elsewhere in sansara according to their karma.
Doing good or bad (bodily, verbally, or mentally) as influenced by an entity's mental attachments ( sans. Raga ) and aversions ( sans. Dvvesh ), an ordinary entity is born in higher or lower states of being (heavens, lower states, or even tormenting hells) according to their actions in preceding births.
As these entities have little control over their minds and behaviors, due to the hardships they experience, their destinies are haphazard and subject to great suffering. Worries, "tension", adversaries, and general adversity are their daily grindstone - all projections of their own mind, instigated by the driving force of past karma, subsisting as samskaras, or tendencies, in the thought-stuff, and manifested as vasanas, or predilections, in immediate consciousness and behavior.
An ordinary entity has never seen and experienced the ultimate truth of Dharma and therefore has no way of finding an end to the predicament. It is only when suffering becomes acute, or seemingly unending, that an entity looks for a "solution" to and, if fortunate, finds the Dharma.
The Arahat (the fourth stage of realization) is a fully Enlightened being, havingextinguished all defilements. The Sotapanna (first stage of realization, alsoSotapatti-magga-nana) has uprooted wrong view but still has other defilements. TheSakadagami and Anagami are at the second and third stage of realization, respectively . All four are called Ariyas, that is, Noble.
The Sotapanna and the Sakadagami have consciousness with attachment (lobha-mula-citta) without wrong view, and this citta can be attached to all six classes of objects. The Anagami has lobha-mula-citta without wrong view which is attached to the class of objects which can only be experienced through the mind-door (dhammarammana). He has eradicated attachment to the sense objects which are visible object, sound, odour, flavour and tangible object. The Arahat has neitherkusala dhammas nor akusala dhammas on account of the six classes of objects. He has completely eradicated all defilements and akusala dhammas. The person who is not Arahat may understand the characteristics of the objects as they are, he may know when the object is a paramattha dhamma and when a concept. However, so long as one has not eradicated all defilements there are conditions for their arising. There can be happiness or sadness, like or dislike on account of the objects, be they paramattha dhammas or concepts. To what extent defilements arise for the non-arahat depends on the degree of understanding that has been developed, it depends on whether a person is a non-ariya or an Ariya who is a Sotapanna, a Sakadagami or an Anagami.(source)
PARAMATTHA DHAMMAS: Citta, Cetasika, Rupa (see), and Nirvana areparamattha dhammas -- ultimate realities. Paramattha is derived from the Pali termparama, which can mean superior, highest, and attha, which is meaning. Paramattha dhammas are realities in the highest or ultimate sense. Paramattha dhammas are different from conventional truth. Person, animal or table are conventional realities we all know. We give them names to designate them in our daily life. They are objects of thinking, but they have no characteristics which can be directly experienced. Through the Buddha’s teaching we come to know paramattha dhammas, ultimate truth we had not heard of before. They have their own characteristics which cannot be changed. We can change their names, but their characteristics cannot be changed. Seeing is always seeing, no matter how we name it. It experiences visible object through the eyes. (source)
KUSALA DHAMMAS: positive forces generated from Karma (actions, words and thoughts) motivated by such good deeds as alms-giving, welfare work, devotion, purification of mind, etc.
AKUSALA DHAMMAS: negative forces generated from Karmas (actions, words, and thoughts) motivated by desire, greed, lust, anger, hatred, dissatisfaction, delusion, etc.
ABYAKATA DHAMMAS: forces that are neither moral nor immoral. This is the case, for example, of an Arahat who has got rid of all traces of ignorance (Avijja). In the case of an Arahat, contact (Phassa) of sense objects with the sense centres produces no reaction to sense impressions (Vedana) whatsoever, just as no impression is possible on flowing water which is ever changing. To him, the whole framework of the body is but an ever-changing mass and any impression thereon automatically breaks away with the mass.
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
- Rupa(Form) - Materiality; physical form, the body. The body itself has no consciousness. The materiality of a dead body is the same as that of a living body. It does not possess any faculty of knowing. In fact, materiality does not possess the faculty of knowing an object in either a dead or a living body. It is only when the body is invested with life that there is consciousness, yet this consciousness is inseparable from the physical body.
- Vedana (Sensory Feelings) - The lenses, windows or filters through which consciousness perceives objects of consciousness. There are two basic components: the six sense faculties (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, & thinking mind) and the six sensations (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, & dharmas or elements of reality). In contacting each other, there are six kinds of consciousness produced. Thus there are a total of eighteen realms of the mind.
- Sanna, Samjna (perception, conceptualization) - The rationalizing faculty of the mind. This is the faculty that interprets, categorizes and ‘makes sense’ of what we perceive and do. In doing so it creates concepts, which codify realities (dharmas) into sensory data; thoughts, views, words, images, etc. Sensory perceptions are invested with meaning. It is here that the idea of a self is established as a basis for reasoning and discernment. Realities (dharmas) are endowed with a 'self' (a name) in order to distinguish and identify them. When perceptions and acts of are differentiated into concepts, these differentiations create aspects of duality and limitless aspects of multiplicity which are used to categorize and associate sensory perceptions.
- Sankhara, Samskara (volition) - Acts of consciousness (or sub-consciousness if unawakened), acts of intent, the doing of things through the body, the mouth and the thinking mind, which initiate karmas (deeds that help create the retribution that is our destiny). Whereas sensory feelings are 'incoming' perceptions (coming from the object of consciousness), acts of will are 'out-going' actions (coming from within the consciousness or sub-consciousness). Sensory feelings are the medium through which we perceive whereas acts of will (volition) are the initiatives by which we act.
- Vinana, Vijnana --- includes the above three mental elements --- Vedana, Sanna, Sankhara.Citta [consciousness] is sometimes spoken of along with the three other mental states as being one of them. Vinana is the center of a sentient being. A modern psychologist would say that consciousness is the mainspring from which other psychological phenomena arise (1). Also Alaya-vijnana, which is usually rendered 'storehouse consciousness'. Considered the underlying stratum of existence that is 'perfumed' by volitional actions and thus 'stores' the moral effects of Karma. It is regarded as a conditioned phenomenon, not as a 'soul' in the sense of Western religion. It is most fully elaborated by Vasubandhu [Vij~napti-maatrataa-tri.msikaa] and by Dharmapala [Vij~napti-maatrataa-siddhi-saastra]. The doctrine of alaya-vijnanagreatly influenced Chinese Buddhism, especially so, Zen (2).One may notice here that alaya-vijnana and citta are described almost by the same terms. The Sandhi-nirmocana-sutra says that alaya-vijnana is also called citta. Asanga too mentions that it is named citta (3).It is this alaya-vijnana or citta that is considered by men as their 'Soul', 'Self', 'Ego' or Atman. It should be remembered as a concrete example, that Sati, one of the Buddha's disciples, took Vinana (vijnana) with this very same sense of meaning and that the Buddha reprimanded him for this Wrong View. (4)Mentality; awareness, the mind, the inner vision. The element of the mind is what has, holds and knows an object, while that of materiality does not. This defines consciousness - beholding an object. Mentality is that which knows an object and which comes into being depending on materiality. It is called Nama in Sanskrit because it inclines (namati) towards an object. It does so through the lens of the senses, but is should not be mistaken as just being the senses. It uses the senses as a sort of window to perceive objects. (5)Refer as well to: The Five Aggregates of Grasping
The Dhammasangani classifies these five khandhas into THREE aspects (6):
- Citta (Skt. “that which is conscious”) -- the act of mental apprehension known as ordinary consciousness, the conventional and relative mind/heart. Its two aspects are 'attending to' and 'collecting' of impressions or traces. See also above.
- Cetasika -- comes from the same root as citta, 'cit', which means 'think'. '-ika' means 'belonging to'. Cetasika is that which supports citta. English has no adequate translation for the word. 'Property of mind' has too many connotations of possession to be accurate. Sometime translated as 'mental factor'; if rather meaningless, it is at least neutral.
- Rupa -- the "having become a thingness of anything." This includes ideas and such invisible things as sounds. Rupa includes the mental (nama) that has become an aspect of individual existance, cannot be separated from the mental, and is, itself, encompassed by the mental.
1) Coarse kilesa; they manifest by way of body and speech, for example: to cut off the life of living beings; to seize things that belong to other people by robbing, stealing, pilfering, or snatching; sexual misconduct; lying, slandering, insulting; to take intoxicants and drugs which are the origin of carelessness. (Abstention from these acts is Sila and a basic requirement for the successful practice of meditation.)2) Medium kilesa; that is to say the nívarana, kilesa that appear in the mind. They season the mind so that it gives rise to desire; dissatisfaction, anger, dejection, drowsiness, agitation, worry, annoyance, indecision, doubt, and delusion. The medium kilesa have authority when they have arisen, they make the mind hot, stuffy, clumsy, troubled, worried, annoyed, apprehensive, uncertain and skeptical more and more. See also theThe Five Hinderances.3) Subtle kilesa; they are called anusaya-kilesa. They are the nature that lies dormant in the five rúpa-náma-kkhandha. When there is a sufficient cause they are bound to arise. Usually these anusaya-kilesa remain quiet, they are not at all evident and do not issue forth in any way. But when there are any objects, whether good or bad, that come into contact with the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body, and the mind then their state changes to the medium and coarse kilesa and they break forth through body and speech later.As an analogy, to distinguish between these three kinds of coarse, medium, and subtle kilesa, one may compare them with a match. The subtle kilesa resemble the fire that is hidden in the head of the match. The medium kilesa are like taking match and striking the side of the matchbox. The fire then becomes evident. The coarse kilesa compare to using the fire that has sprung up and setting it to some material. The fire will then burn that object and can spread into a big blaze later.An old saying goes: "we are the results of what we were; we will be the results of what we are." A Pali text called The Anguttara, and presented here from What the Buddha Said, says it best:
"It cannot come to pass that the fruit of a deed well-done by the body, speech, and thought should have for a result that which is unpleasant, hateful, or distasteful. But that it should be otherwise is quite possible."
What is important to consider of course, is having set into motion the correct set of principals in the past, so the fruit beared from those endeavors would be impacting one's present. To have that present be a positive experience my own spiritual guide and Mentorextracted the following suggestion from the sutras, which went something like:1.) From the first generate only thoughts with the right escort.2.)Support right thoughts already risen.3.)From where thoughts arise, generate no thoughts that carry negative escort.4.)Dispell any negative thoughts already risen.
Dhammasangani is the title given to the first book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. The Pali word dhamma (Skt. Dharma) varies in meaning according to context; here as part of the term dhammasangani, dhamma means ultimate realities. Sangani means collecting together or complete enumeration. Thus Dhammasangani deals with collecting and enumerating the ultimate realities by the method of triads (tikas) and dyads (duka) as set out in its Matika. For instance, in such a phrase as 'kusala dhamma' or 'akusala dhamma', or abyakata dhamma' which occurs in the Dhammasangani, the word dhamma means ultimate realities.Posted by sugathaIntroduction
What is an Arhat? Who is should the worthy one and the fully enlightened one, who from disenchantment with form disenchantment with form from dispassion, from cessation, from lack of clinging is released and a wisdom-liberated. From suffering, hatred and hindrance all. There are many dispute questions between Theravada and Mahayana doctrine. Have the Arhat been extinguishing all feelings and achieve to Nirvana.Regarding the experience of the Arhat. What happiness there can be when there is no feeling sensation he explaine that the absence of feeling sensation itself is happiness or not. Here we are reminded of the statement that all mental states converge on feelings. What is meant by this statement seems to be that all mental states are translated into sansations in the body. It is possible to understand the import of this statement if we pay attention to a gross emotion. Such as anger. When we are angry we experience a variety of bodily sensations: feeling hot. Being restless. breaking out in a sweat, trepidation, etc, when we are sad, tears come into our eyes. There are brought about by changes in body chemistry through the discharge of various glandular secretions. If intense emotions bring about such gross sensations. We might conjecture that all thoughts cause subtle sensations in the body resulting from changes in body chemistry. We are hardly aware of these sensations which.However. How can contemplate the methods to became arahant? If he has been achieved nirvana, how many doubts has remained it in Arahants’ life? Thoughts are endless and continuous. Because we can’t control our mind in imperceptibly heart. Therefore. If this interpretation that thoughts are translated into sensations is correct, sensations too should be endless and continuous. That just as diverse winds constantly blow in different directions. Numerous sensations pass through the body to represent out it. So let talk about Arhat bourn at the below.Four stages of ArhatAs he guided his followers over the 45 years that he taught, Buddha recognized four distinct levels or stages of realization, each one marked by a deep and unmistakable experience of selflessness followed by certain changes in outlook and behavior. The experience generally occurs during intensive meditation, when the attention has become one-pointed, and follows extensive study and understanding of the basic truths of Buddhism.The four stages of enlightenment in Buddhism are the four degrees of approach to full enlightenment as an Arhat which a person can attain in this life. The four stages are Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami and Arhat. The teaching of the four stages of enlightenment is a central element of the early Buddhist schools, including the surviving Theravada school of Buddhism. The Arhat has many different types in Buddhism. But espeially four types are very evidence. So here I will illutrate explanation that four types. There are:I. The Sotāpanna-phala (means in the Buddhism “stream-winner” and refers to a person), who has eradicated the first three fetters (sanyojanas) of the mind. Sotapanna literally means “one who entered (āpanna) the stream (sota)”, after a simile that compares attaining nibbāna with crossing a stream and reaching the farthest shore. Sotapannaship is the first of the four stages of enlightenment.. Certification to the first fruit of Arhatship, which is within the Small Vehicle, comes when the eighty-eight categories of view delusions are smashed.The first moment of the attainment is termed the path of stream-entry (sotāpatti-magga), which cuts off the first three fetters. The person who experiences it is called a stream-winner (sotāpanna). The Sotāpanna is said to attain an intuitive grasp of dhamma(right view) and has complete confidence in the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha). The Sotapanna is said to have “opened the eye of the Dharma” (dhammacakkhu), because they have realized that whatever arises will cease (impermanence). Their conviction in the true Dhamma would be unshakable.A Sotāpanna will be safe from falling into the states of misery (they will not be born as an animal, ghost, or hell being). Their lust, hatred and delusion will not be strong enough to cause rebirth in the lower realms. A Sotāpanna will have to be reborn at most only seven more times in the human or heavenly worlds before attaining Nibbana. It is not necessary for a Sotāpanna to be reborn seven more times before attaining Nibbana, as an ardent practitioner may progress to the higher stages in the same life in which he/she reaches the Sotāpanna level by making an aspiration and persistent effort to reach the final goal of Nibbāna.II. The Sakadagami-phala (Sakadagami literally means once returner). A Sakadagami is one who has attained sakadagami-phala. It can enjoy the peace of Nibbana whenever be wishes by developing the esctatic absorption corresponding to Sakadagami phala-samapatti. A Sakadagami will be reborn only once in the sense sphere. He will then become an Arahat and, after that last life, will be in Nibbana for ever. The cittas that arise in a Sakadagami are the same as those which arise in a Sotapanna with the only exception that a Sakadagami enjoy Sakadagami-phala-samapatti instead of Sotapatti-phala-samapatti Compared to a Sotapatti, a Sakadagami has less raga, (lust, greed), Dosa (ill will, hatred) and moha (delusion). Thus he is nobler than a Sotapanna. After you become a stream-enterer, your practice includes reminding yourself of your new realization of “no-self,” as well as paying attention to the ways that you’re still attached and your resistance to life as it unfolds. After a period of time (generally years of devoted practice) in which your concentration gets even stronger and your mind becomes even more tranquil, you have another direct insight into no-self. (Remember, knowing this truth as a concept or memory is one thing, but experiencing it directly, beyond the conceptual mind, is something else entirely.)This insight (essentially the same as the first but even stronger and clearer) brings a significant reduction in attachment and aversion and the suffering that accompanies these states of mind. For example, occasional irritation and preference replace hatred and greed, which no longer have any hold over the once-returner. Someone who reaches this stage has only one more rebirth before becoming completely enlightened — hence the name once-returner.III. The Anagami-phala (The friut of ono-returning) is a partially-enlightened person who has cut off the first five chains that bind the ordinary mind. Anagami-ship is the third of the four stages of enlightenment. Anagamis are not reborn into the human world after death, but into the heaven of the Pure Abodes, where only anagamis live. There they attain full enlightenment (arahantship).After the experience that signals entry to this stage, all of the worst hindrances, such as hatred, greed, jealousy, and ignorance, completely drop away, but a hint of a self-sense (a “me”) still remains — and with it, the slightest trace of restlessness and dissatisfaction sticks around as well. The experience itself is rarely accompanied by any emotion or excitement, just a clearer recognition of what has already been seen twice before. These people appear to be extremely content, peaceful, and without desire, but the subtlest preference for positive rather than negative experiences remains.IV. Arahant (Sanskrit: Arhat; Pali: arahant) At the fourth stage, he makes the final advance towards becoming an arhat or Foe-destroyer who attains nirvana because he has broken all the ten fetters, the last five of which are:(1) desire for existence in the worlds of Form;(2) desire for existence in the Formless Worlds;(3) conceit;(4) restlessness; and(5) ignorance.The career of the Arhat is like the career of a student in that development is measured by the highest stage or level he has achieved so far. When a secondary school student progress in stages from that of a Freshman to that of a Senior, his knowledge and mastery of skill increase with each higher level achieved. Eventually, he graduates from school when he passes his final year examinations. In the same way, the would be Arhat overcomes more and more of the fetters at each higher stage of his development. When he successfully passes the fourth stage, he reaches the end of his career and is no longer subject to rebirth. However, he is not yet at the highest stage. He is not yet a Buddha.
The Buddha himself is first identified as an arahant, as are his enlightened followers, because they are free from all defilements, without greed, hatred, delusion, ignorance and craving, lacking “assets” which will lead to future birth, the arahant knows and sees the real here and now. This virtue shows stainless purity, true worth, and the accomplishment of the end, Nibbana.
In the Pali canon, Ananda states that he knows monastics to achieve nibbana in one of four ways:• one develops insight preceded by serenity (Pali: samatha-pubbaṇgamam vipassanam),• one develops serenity preceded by insight (vipassanā-pubbangamaṃ samatham),• one develops serenity and insight in a stepwise fashion (samatha-vipassanaṃ yuganaddham),• one’s mind becomes seized by excitation about the dhamma and, as a consequence, develops serenity and abandons the fetters (dhamma-uddhacca-viggahitam manasam hoti).In Theravada, although the Arahants have achieved the same goals as the Buddha, there are some differences among Arahants due to the way of their practice.In the Pali Canon, A tathagata is sometimes described as having the attributes of an Arhat.ConclusionAn Arahat is one who has attained arahatta magga and phala. He (or she) can enjoy the peace of Nibbana whenever he wishes by developing the ecstatic absorption corresponding to arahatta-phala-samapatti. He can enjoy Nirodha-samapatti if he attains the eight Jhanas.Since Arahatta magga eliminates all the defilements (kilesa) an Arahat has no greed, ill will, delusion, conceit, personality belief and other bad mental factors. He has no attachment to anything; so he is free from all entanglements. He does not regard anything as his own; thus he has no reason to feel sad because something is taken or stolen from him.Because he has uprooted all dosa (anger, hatred or ill-will) from his mind, He will never experience unpleasant mental feeling which accompanies dosa mula cittas.All the twelve akusala-cittas (immoral consciousness) will never arise in him.As his mind is always free from all defilements, it is at the purest state, making him the noblest one.He is a true Saint worthy of respect by men and devas and worthy of receiving alms which are offered to him with the intention of enjoying the benefits in the present life as well as in future lives.An arahat, literally meaning a worthy one, does not accomplish fresh kamma activities, and he is not subject to rebirth because the conditions for his reproduction in matter have been destroyed.The arahat realizes that what is to be accomplished has been done. A heavy burden of misery has finally been thrown away, and all forms of craving and all shades of delusion have been annihilated. He now stand on heights higher than celestial, far removed from uncontrolled passion and the defilements of the world.References:• Bodhi, Bhikkhu (ed.) (2005). In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pāli Canon.Boston: Wisdom Pubs.• Khantipalo, Bhikkhu (1989). Buddha, My Refuge: Contemplation of the Buddha based on the Pali Suttas. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society.• Glossary Dhagpo Kundreul Ling. Retrieved 2007-10-17.• Rhys Davids, T.W. & William Stede (eds.) (1921–5). The Pali Text Society’s Pali–English dictionary. Chipstead: Pali Text Society.• Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1998). Yuganaddha Sutta: In Tandem.• Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2004). Stream Entry (Part 2: Stream-entry and After). Retrieved 28 Sep 2007 from “Access to Insight”.• Thanissaro Bhikkhu (2006). Stream Entry (Part 1: The Way to Stream-entry). Retrieved 28 Sep 2007 from “Access to Insight”.• The Samyutta Nikaya, translation from Mahindarama Temple, Penang, Malaysia.• Hirosaka, Shu. The Potiyil Mountain in Tamil Nadu and the origin of the Avalokitesvara cult.• Alexander Studholme: The Origins of Om Manipadme Hum. Albany NY: State University of New York Press, 2002.• Jerome Ducor, Le regard de Kannon, Gollion: Infolio editions / Geneve: Musee d’ethnographie de Geneve, 2010, 104 pages avec ill. Couleur.• Kuan-Yin: The Chinese Transformation of Avalokitesvara (2001) by Chun-fang Yü , Columbia University Press.• Buddha in the Crown: Avalokitesvara in the Buddhist Traditions of Sri Lanka (1999) by James P. McDermott, Journal of the American Oriental Society.
Subhadda, the Last Disciple
Now it happened that a certain wandering ascetic called Subhadda was staying near Kusinaga and, hearing that the Buddha was about to pass away, he resolved to go and see him. Subhadda had a question he could not resolve and was sure that the Buddha could answer his question and clear his doubts.
So Subhadda went to the sala tree grove, and asked Venerable Ananda whether he could see the Buddha. But Venerable Ananda said, "Enough, friend Subhadda, the Buddha is very weary. Do not trouble him."
For a second and third time Subhadda made his request and for the second and third time, Venerable Ananda replied in the same manner.
However, the Buddha caught a word or two of the conversation between Venerable Ananda and Subhadda, and called Venerable Ananda to him, saying, "Come, Ananda. Do not keep Subhadda from seeing me. Let him come. Whatever Subhadda may ask of me, he will ask from a desire for knowledge and not to annoy me. And whatever I may say in answer to his questions, that he will quickly understand."
Permission granted, Subhadda approached the Buddha, and after greeting him, said, "O Gotama, there are many famous religious teachers who teach other teachings, different from yours. Have they all, as they claim, discovered the truth? Or have only some of them discovered the truth while others have not?"
"Enough, O Subhadda," said the Buddha, "You should not worry about other teachings. Listen to me and pay close attention to what I say, and I will make known to you the truth.
"In whatever doctrine or teaching the Noble Eightfold Path is not found, there will neither be found those who have become sotapanna, sakadagami, anagami or arahant (four levels of sainthood). But in those teachings where the Noble Eightfold Path is found, there also you will find the sotapanna, the sakadagami, the anagami and the arahant. In this teaching of mine, O Subhadda, is to be found the Noble Eightfold Path, and in it alone the sotapanna, the sakadagami, the anagami, and the arahant are found. In no other schools of religious teachers can such arya beings (saints) be found. And if only my disciples live rightly and follow my precepts or training rules, the world will never be without genuine arahants."
Then Subhadda asked to be admitted to the order of monks and the Buddha granted his request. In this way Subhadda became the very last convert and disciple of the Buddha, just as Kondanna in the deer park at Benares was the first convert and disciple forty-five years earlier.
And by earnest and diligent effort in following the teaching, Subhadda very shortly became an arahant.