Bodhisattas and the EBTs

It depends on the sect. Tantrists believe that they are already on that 10th bhūmi, so they certainly believe that it is attainable in this life. It also contextualizes why they felt the need to add up to ten extra stages after the end: because nothing seemed to happen when the guru laid his hands on their heads.

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It occurs to me that Buddhism in its pure, undistorted, core EBT form has never really existed for very long anywhere since it’s earliest days. It has always been Brahminized, Vedantized, Hinduized, Mahayanized, Scholasticized, Shaivized, Confucianized, Taoized, Tibetized or Westernized. Plus there are innumerable and untraceable inputs from all sorts of local cults and practices.

The original teaching, it seems to me, taught the necessity of going forth into the homeless, mendicant life. This wasn’t some pretty euphemism, but the real deal. But even the most authentic forms of contemporary Buddhism assign homeless wandering an optional status as a special form of austerity.

Maybe the original teaching is so challenging, and so restricted to the needs and goals of a spiritually elite class of virtuoso practitioners, that it is unsustainable in pure form? If so, then it is no wonder ordinary people had to invent all sorts of other kinds of Buddhism to satisfy their personal spiritual needs.


Definitely understand where you’re coming from. :+1:

I think it should be taken into account that any negative kamma directed towards a living sammasambuddha carries huge potential negative vipāka(significantly more than usual), even if it’s only a verbal action, the consequence would be devastating. Just the same, if someone gives dāna to a sammasambuddha or a paccekabuddha the positive vipāka is immense.

The power potential of a living Buddha, it would seem, would also solidify a bodhisatta vow into rigid destiny. Something extremely rare. 100% certainty in any outcome is highly unlikely ever. Anyone who takes the vow outside of the presence of a living Buddha most certainly wouldn’t have the substantial engery necessary solo to carry-it-forward over multiple lives into fruition.

There is this rare rigid 100% determinism involved in the final rebirth of a bodhisatta, same with a sakādāgami’s final rebirth, and the set destination of an anāgāmi’s rebirth.

I think most beings almost never experience 100% destiny.:grinning:

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I think there is some truth in this. The radical teaching goes completely against not only all societal norms both materially & mentally, but also fundamental human biological nature as well.

@sujato :anjal:

Bhante, from a purely EBT point of view are there any differences between the Buddha and the Arahants ?

Other than the Buddha being the first to discover the path.

The difference between sammasambodhi arahantship and sāvakabodhi(disciple) arahantship is almost entirely contextual except someone whose attained sammasambodhi has the supremely perfected divine-eye that allows him to teach tamable individuals with ease and precision. Even a person whom attains paccekabodhi lacks this distinction which is why they don’t teach proactively and are known as “Private Buddhas.”

There are suttas in the Pali canon where the supreme disciples aren’t able to teach the dhamma thoroughly to a certain monk; they take them to see Buddha Gotama and he instantly knows the approach that will breakthrough to them. They couldn’t.

I know you directed this at Bhante Sujato, but this is a terse answer. Maybe he’ll add something :grinning:

I’m pretty sure there’s also another thread on this…:anjal:


A markedly higher quality of a Buddha (sammasambuddha) is that he had access to knowledge (Buddha nana/‘handful of leaves simile’) that arhanths didn’t have. He could tell the attainments of individuals and their faculties. He knew who could reach enlightenment before a sermon. He could articulate the dhamma in way that was perfect for enlightenment. Kevadda suta says his teaching was a miraculous in degrees more than that of the Arahants.

His ability to see past lives was incomparable (more than Sariputta). He could not see a beginning in the cycle of samsara according to the suttas.

His insight into dhamma was deeper (Maha nidana sutta, and Ven Ānanda’s understanding of the DO). He could see the existential, mental and physical dukkha when no one could as Prince Siddhartha. He approached teachers, learnt, practiced, experimented until he found the solution, uncovered basic truths about existence and successfully transmitted it everywhere- though it’s its in a state of decay now, in some places.


I recommend reading Saṃyutta Nikāya: Nidānavagga 16 Kassapasaṃyutta; Sutta#9 Jhānas and Direct Knowledges.
Buddha Gotama parallels his arahantship with that of Mahakassapa’s.
Sorta puts perspective on the issue.
Here’s the SuttaCentral Sujato Translation link


Not sure about the Buddha not making mistakes in his teaching. Look at the monks who use the knife after a Buddha teaching. Also not being able to convince the 1st guy he met after his awakening. For me Buddha is just a title to the one who has (re?)-established the dhamma, but in term of achievements and abilities he was like all other Arahats.


Buddha is the tamer of those to be tamed, not Joe Everybody…

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sure. But what i am wandering is whether the EBTs mention any reasons for such a difference if there are any.
Traditionally it is said that the Buddha is special because he spent countless life times perfecting himself. (I have no problem with that and i accept it out of faith)

@anon87721581 I think that sentence of mine was to minimumly worded. Should have been:
“Buddha is the tamer of those to be tamed, not the teacher of Joe Everybody.”

—Meaning not all people are ready for dhamma instruction, even from a sammasambuddha. And it was in response to @alaber ‘s remark about Buddha Gotama’s most two famous teaching fails.

Read this Sutta. The differences are extremely few and subtle. Sammasambuddhas are self-awakened and supreme teachers. Paccekabuddhas are self-awakened and don’t proactively teach. Sāvakabuddhas are awakened disciples of a sammasambuddha and can teach others to become sāvakabuddhas. Arahantship of all three is technically the same. Teaching abilities are the difference. The direct knowledges can be identical for all three, but doesn’t have to be.

There are also certain individuals who master all Ten Perfections over numerous lifetimes to the second degree and become paccekabuddhas, so the long protraction of perfections isn’t restricted to sammasambuddhas. For sāvakabuddhas it’s to the first degree.


He also said the he could only lead the horse to water but not make it drink ie he could teach and make it available but not make everyone enlightened instantly. However when Ven Sariputta couldn’t find the correct meditation object for another he brought him to the Buddha to find it, and he did.

Some monks took his teaching the wrong way and committed suicide. He never claimed to be all knowing or all seeing. He never claimed to be able to change karma.

He got headaches, and got old with an aching body.

He stated in the acaryaadbhutha sutta that he wasn’t like his disciples and he wasn’t without miraculous abilities.

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That sutta is put under the microscope in the above mentioned book. Personally I take most of it to be myth, and I think the real teaching is in the last marvelous quality.

But why would you take a position on that. Wouldn’t it be better to say i dont know or i dont know yet ?

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Thank you for this amazing reference. It is the Buddhist perfect 300 bowling score, perfect 1.000 batting score. Because of this, I am adding “Whenever I want” to the SCV search terms so that folks understand what perfection is.


When I first read the Saṃyutta Nikāya, Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation, it was one of the top dozen or so suttas that screamed remember me. Lol.

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Because it’s a belief. I don’t claim to know that it’s not true. Just like rebirth is a belief for me. I can’t claim to know it until I’ve seen it for myself. There’s evidence showing that a lot of fantastic, marvelous qualities ascribed to the Buddha are later additions. A natural tendency that a group of followers acts upon is to deify and mythicize their teacher to make him a more worthy and inspiring object of devotion as he gradually becomes more and more a thing of the past. Hence the much later ideas of omniscience and cosmic supremacy that we find very common in many forms of Buddhism.

There are times when I take the agnostic stance and times when I don’t. Such as when I read that ~2600 years ago the entire galaxy lit up and shook as the Buddha-to-be was born, when no one else has every documented this sort of thing in history, or when a newborn baby probably weighing around 2.5-4 kg takes seven steps and declares that this is his last life. I don’t take these things literally and see them as more symbolic in nature. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t see the Buddha as a divine saviour. I see him as an extraordinarily wise man who found a way out of suffering and taught others the same way. Doesn’t mean he didn’t come out of his mother covered in blood, like the rest of us.

To use your comment, do you believe in rebirth? If so, why?

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Perhaps , you declined the medal of honour although earned it .
A person who renounces the world and practices self- discipline in order to attain liberation ~ possesses bodhicitta wishing to attain enlightenment motivated by great compassion for all sentient beings, accompanied by a falling away of the attachment to the illusion of an inherently existing self .

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This is a very reasoned and logical approach to this particular sutta.

We must keep in mind that the Pali scriptures aren’t “gospel” and that, of course, to remember Buddha Gotama’s famous discourse in the Kalama Sutta(the Secular Buddhist’s ‘holy-grail’:woozy_face:).

If you’ve read thousands of discourses(not hard to do) with an open, yet discerning, mind you learn to spot these obvious superfluous additions that don’t ring true.