Did Buddha really ask the original 16 Arhats to take rebirth until the next Buddha is born? Didn't the Arhat achieve Nirvana? How can they take rebirth?

Strange, does this mean karma is a bodily thing then that burns out of existence with the body? Just asking, not arguing, because I have no idea what people’s view of karma is here. There are several different views of karma, so getting the Buddhist one clear could be helpful for people who may not know.

It’s a five khandha thing. Body and mind. Arahants have completely let go of all five khandhas (including saṅkhāra = choices).

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Sounds like the body (matter) is just an animated sheath then. I think there is a sutta to that effect. The difference being between an arhat and dead person, simply being animation via vitality and such. Suggesting that thought, speech and deed are an extension of unconditioned intention. Hm. Never considered it that way.

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I believe an awakened mind becomes free but not unable. It can still give rise to everything if he/she wishes. But unlike us this never arises in a uncontrolled manner.

Dhamma is not about becoming unable but about freedom. One can use, apply, direct mind as one wishes because it is unfettered now. And if one wishes to manifest emotions, i believe that is possible. One can still, if one wants, also make use of conceiving. But while in a untamed unfree mind this all happens in an uncontrolled manner, a tamed and purified mind can deliberately apply, use, all minds abilities. They do not get lost. Unfreedom gets lost.

If one would wish to be rebon here or there, i believe, the awakened mind has this freedom to direct it that way, incline it that way, intent in that way while dying. The ability to use, direct, apply the mind is for an awakened one max. His/her mind is extremely pliant.

I do not think that this mind must be seen as unable to give rise to this and that.

Not about freedom to do what we want. It’s about freedom from wanting in the first place. Much more radical!

Yep, there’s a sutta about this somewhere… Maybe someone else has it handy?

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Are you thinking of Iti44?

When subconsious processes (anusaya, asava) do not have any grasp on mind anymore, mind has become extremely subtle, receptive, easy to use, apply, direct, as one wishes, because all the fettering is gone. The kind of volition of anusaya is not like a deliberate desire, choice, wish.
So, when the kind of volition represented by anusaya gets lost, it is not that one becomes will-less.

A Buddha remains to have a will, can apply will, can make use of volition.
He also remains a wanting person. He wants to be understood and wants that his teachings are shared as he meant the, for example. That is what i see in the sutta’s.

Great! Please show us in the suttas where an arahant or even the Buddha can decide to be reborn. Not your beliefs but what the suttas actually say.


their senses have not gone

Yeah that was one of them. I seem to recall another about how someone in cessation is different from a corpse? :pray:

MN43? The CIPS will lead you there from corpse. :wink:

You are right…THAT i do not see in the sutta’s.

What i see in the sutta’s is that only suffering get lost, no abilities. No will. No conceiving ability. No ability to give rise to thoughts, ideas, plans, intentions and emotions. Only uncontrolled arising stops.
Only fettering. I also see a Buddha that can become irritated.

A Buddha also can conceive of a me or I who will reap results of choosing to teach (becoming tired when he is not understood). But all is freed. Not absent but freed.

Indeed, i believe it a mistake to even believe that being without any sense of me and mine rgearding boud and mind can be healthy.

One will suffer intensily, think about this, when one would really literally see body and mind as literally not me and mine. A child who does will be in hospital all the time. That is for sure.

A Buddha still sees body and mind as me and mine to a degree needed to live normally, but let go of that without any effort. And that we cannot. Our sense of me and mine towards the body and mind is NOT freed. His is.

Really think about it what it would really mean when you would see your body as not mine and me at all. My mother with Alzheimer does not anymore…really that is not wise, healthy.

Great! I’m glad we agree.

All that other stuff is totally off topic for this thread.


Yes, if it is about the question asked…i do not know of such sutta. Still i believe it is important to not think about liberation as an inability.

These five faculties depend on vitality to continue.

That’s the one thanks!

Would have been my next place to look if I had had a few more minutes to look :blush:

Dhamma is not about becoming unable but about freedom. One can use, apply, direct mind as one wishes because it is unfettered now. And if one wishes to manifest emotions, i believe that is possible. One can still, if one wants, also make use of conceiving. But while in a untamed unfree mind this all happens in an uncontrolled manner, a tamed and purified mind can deliberately apply, use, all minds abilities. They do not get lost. Unfreedom gets lost.

In very simple terms, this very much sounds like “having your cake and eating it too” — kind of belief or position. You want enlightenment to be possible but then you want to become one of the Guardians of Galaxy and go around saving and helping people. Why? How? That would require you to be very much steeped in goings on of samsāra, not someone who is completely dispassionate.

Nibbana sounds like a one way ultimate Exit, not an Exit Pass at a museum where you can go out have a coffee and come back in to see more exhibits.

Also consider two more things: (slightly left-field and not very profound but interesting none the less)

In the entire pali canon, is there an example of an arahant or the Buddha ever appearing in visions to give advice to someone or help out? A lot of other beings do, even the being formerly known as Anathpindika shows up. Every single example of a higher being appearing to help someone out is still very much not an arahant and has not given up all interest in samsāra. If what you say is true, why don’t arahants ever show up? I could be wrong about this because I have not read the entire canon.

Secondly, take the case of Brahma pleading with the Buddha to stick around and teach and turn it around a bit. With a frail human body and walking barefoot everywhere, the Buddha could have reached far far fewer people than if as you say one has complete freedom to do whatever one wants. Wouldn’t you be able to help billions more throughout the Universe after parinibbana? If Brahma really cared about helping all beings out of compassion, shouldn’t they have encouraged the Buddha to get rid of human form asap. The exact opposite of what they begged and pleaded?

What you are describing here and elsewhere is a Benevolent “God” — everlasting, with pure intentions, but still interested in interfering in human affairs out of compassion. There are many beings in the suttas like that but an arahant is not that.

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I’m not sure it is possible to accurately date these in historical context, but the Lotus Sutra is often classified as belonging to the Second/Third Turning of the Wheel of Dharma (or even later?) according to many extent Mahayana schools. Being in the Second/Third Turning or later, I think it is accurate to say they “post-date” earlier teachings if not by historical dates, then at least by turnings :joy:

It is important to note that many extant Mahayana schools do not regard the Third Turning as definitive, but rather figurative and needing interpretation according to the Second Turning which is held as definitive. Other traditions believe the Third is definitive and Second is in need of interpretation. In this way, the interpretations above about the rebirth of beings and so on are thrown into quite a different light to my limited mind depending upon what you hold to be definitive and what needs interpretation. Then you have to get into how to interpret which even students of the same tradition often debate :joy:

Anyway, if you want to see how the Lotus Sutra justifies this belief that beings like Mahākāśyapa and Śāriputra are reborn as Buddhas in the future I suggest you read at least Chapters 1-4 of the Lotus Sutra.


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I see what you say. I agree with you that a voluntairy rebirth in samsara to help others is absent in the sutta’s, or…we must see the Buddha’s birth that way. Deliberately, and not because of kamma, taking rebirth on Earth? Did the Buddha because of kamma be reborn here? Unvoluntairy? Or was it deliberately? I have not really investigated this.

But anyhow, i have never seen a sutta that describes an arahant taking voluntairy rebirth. I agree.


Sorry to put ya’ll to that work, there is another, which I will keep an eye out for in my grazing. On a different note, have you seen this? I got it not long ago and haven’t yet much gone into it.

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Have you seen this sutta? (SN 45.11)

“Mendicants, I wish to go on retreat for a fortnight. “Icchāmahaṁ, bhikkhave, aḍḍhamāsaṁ paṭisallīyituṁ. No-one should approach me, except for the one who brings my almsfood.” Namhi kenaci upasaṅkamitabbo, aññatra ekena piṇḍapātanīhārakenā”ti.

“Yes, sir,” replied those mendicants. And no-one approached him, except for the one who brought the almsfood. “Evaṁ, bhante”ti kho te bhikkhū bhagavato paṭissutvā nāssudha koci bhagavantaṁ upasaṅkamati, aññatra ekena piṇḍapātanīhārakena.

Then after a fortnight had passed, the Buddha came out of retreat and addressed the mendicants: Atha kho bhagavā tassa aḍḍhamāsassa accayena paṭisallānā vuṭṭhito bhikkhū āmantesi:

“Mendicants, I’ve been practicing part of the meditation I practiced when I was first awakened. “yena svāhaṁ, bhikkhave, vihārena paṭhamābhisambuddho viharāmi, tassa padesena vihāsiṁ.

I understand that So evaṁ pajānāmi: there’s feeling conditioned by wrong view ‘micchādiṭṭhipaccayāpi vedayitaṁ; and feeling conditioned by right view. … sammādiṭṭhipaccayāpi vedayitaṁ …pe… There’s feeling conditioned by wrong immersion, micchāsamādhipaccayāpi vedayitaṁ; and feeling conditioned by right immersion. sammāsamādhipaccayāpi vedayitaṁ;

There’s feeling conditioned by desire, chandapaccayāpi vedayitaṁ; by thought, vitakkapaccayāpi vedayitaṁ; and by perception. saññāpaccayāpi vedayitaṁ;

As long as desire, thought, and perception are not stilled, there is feeling conditioned by that. chando ca avūpasanto hoti, vitakko ca avūpasanto hoti, saññā ca avūpasantā hoti, tappaccayāpi vedayitaṁ;

When desire, thought, and perception are stilled, there is feeling conditioned by that. chando ca vūpasanto hoti, vitakko ca vūpasanto hoti, saññā ca vūpasantā hoti, tappaccayāpi vedayitaṁ;

There is effort to attain the unattained. When that state has been attained, there is also feeling conditioned by that.” appattassa pattiyā atthi āyāmaṁ, tasmimpi ṭhāne anuppatte tappaccayāpi vedayitan’

Yes. Always fun to spot the tantric elements that found their way into even the Dhammayut liturgy. :face_with_hand_over_mouth: