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An arhat (Sanskrit, also arahat or arahant (Pali); Chinese: 阿羅漢, aluohan; Tibetan: dgra-bcom-pa; Jp. arakan) is a highly realized Buddhist practitoner, one who has completely destroyed greed, hatred and delusion. The word comes from Sanskrit arhati, Pali arahati, "he/she is worthy" (incidentally the same meaning as the Greek phrase axion esti , used by the Christian Orthodox Church in its ritual for the ordination of priests).
The term arhat is, strictly speaking, a synonym for Buddha and it is listed in some texts as one of the ten epithets of a Buddha. However, in English, the term arhat is conventionally used to refer only to a Sravaka-Buddha, one of the three types of Buddha, whereas the term Buddha is most commonly used to refer only to Supreme Buddhas such as Siddhartha Gautama. Thus, by their conventional uses, one could readily find the concept of arhat contrasted with the concept of Buddha.
In early Indian texts, the stage of arhat is described as the final goal of Buddhist practice -- the attainment of complete and unexcelled nirvāna. Others consider it to be the fourth and highest stage of the śrāvaka path, Sravaka-Buddhahood.
The concept of arhat may be compared with that of bodhisattva.
- Digital Dictionary of Buddhism (log in with userID "guest")
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