Do Arahants sheds tears?

According to the Chinese Theravada Vinaya Commentary Kassapa when he heard of Buddha’s death wept. It’s like the opposite of what tradition says. He seemed in sutta to stop others weeping. There is the famous video of Ajaan Maha Boowa shedding tears but what if Arahants because as they are on earth there is still sheds tears out of compassionately feeling for the suffering of others. For example when Kassapa heard he thought that the world will now slowly suffer more because Buddha is gone.

1 Like

Can you quote or screenshot the relevant passage?

1 Like

:onion: :hocho: :arrow_right: :cry:

:skull: :arrow_right: :deaf_woman:


You mean a natural reaction?

I am seeing the word wept. @Khemarato.bhikkhu

1 Like

Theravada source used this instance in the vinaya story but they made Maha Kassapa a stronger character. In my opinion this Chinese version is from a Theravada Indian Branch and might have got the tradition they have of what happened from Sthavira at India. While what we currently have is just made not to show a weakness point in Arahants. @sujato

I have noticed also that the sects explains this moment differently, I think it Lokottaravāda has it that Maha Kassapa says that now they can do what they want.

Bhante, what do you think about tears of empathetic joy? I know it happens to me a lot, but I’m not sure if there’s any underlying asava causing that reaction.

That would be consistent with the explanation of weeping for non-arahants:

AN4.5:2.1: And who is the person who goes against the stream?
AN4.5:2.2: It’s a person who doesn’t take part in sensual pleasures or do bad deeds. They live the full and pure spiritual life in pain and sadness, weeping, with tearful faces.

Tears of immense gratitude would also be consistent.

I read Ajahn Chah mentioned about tears in meditation. He also mentioned about the natural smile. It seems they are because of what you say.

I posted this because the Chinese version vs Buddhaghosa commentary seems his generation already started feel the need to show Arahants as strong etc.

In his time there is the believe in weakness of Arahants.

But I like how the Chinese version is written. He even went to the ground. But beautiful is it’s shows that the body as we know from suttas can be affected by past karma. So maybe 1 second a Arahant can have joy etc. And then they control it.

There is strange phenomenon after I had stroke. I used to cry when there is no need to cry. Or when something was really emotional I will cry without even wanting. That counted for laughing also. Something small I used to laugh very long. Now it’s gone.

So I think there must be a involuntarily reactions for Arahants at play. Since It’s possible then in the brain.

What is against the stream again? Isn’t that when you have right view? Sotapanna etc

1 Like

The Buddha explored “against the stream” when he was first awakened:

SN6.1:3.1: Those caught up in greed can’t see what’s subtle, going against the stream,

This happened before Brahmā Sahampati implored him to teach the Dhamma.

However, I could not find any precise delineation of “against the stream” with the eight people on the path, but my understanding, like yours, is that it includes all eight.

What’s interesting about this is the concept of “stream-enterer”. Is the stream-enterer against the stream? Well, if I am backpacking and entering a stream, I certainly am not swept away by the stream because then I would become injured or dead in the wilderness. Even the one practicing to enter a stream isn’t swept away by the stream, since any backpacker contemplating entering a stream must first assess one’s ability to withstand the stream in order to cross it.

The word “stream” can be understood in two ways. The suttas do refer to the stream of the teaching which carries one along. Yet conventionally, one refers to the “stream of the senses”. So practicing for stream entry can be understood as fighting the stream of the senses to enter the stream of the teaching.

I have read some where that it is stream entry because you have entered the stream. So that means nothing is happening still. You have just entered. It’s like you just stepped in.

It means you have glimpsed nibbana and are destined for full awakening.

Yes by entering the stream means you will have to finish crossing over. But that part doesn’t happen automatically

Details here:

SN12.42:5.1: When a noble disciple has quelled five dangers and threats, has the four factors of stream-entry, and has clearly seen and comprehended the noble cycle with wisdom, they may, if they wish, declare of themselves: ‘I’ve finished with rebirth in hell, the animal realm, and the ghost realm. I’ve finished with all places of loss, bad places, the underworld. I am a stream-enterer! I’m not liable to be reborn in the underworld, and am bound for awakening.’”


So you have to just sit and you will reach Nibbāna?

1 Like

Could you clarify your It please :wink: ? Stream entry, or going against the stream. Reading through the thread I got lost tracking the posts! :thinking:

1 Like

Sāriputta, they speak of ‘the stream’. What is the stream?”

“Sir, the stream is simply this noble eightfold path, that is: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion.”

“Good, good, Sāriputta! For the stream is simply this noble eightfold path, that is: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion.

Sāriputta, they speak of ‘a stream-enterer’. What is a stream-enterer?”

“Sir, anyone who possesses this noble eightfold path is called a stream-enterer, the venerable of such and such name and clan.”

But this is not the same as the stream/flood of the world as experienced … The near shore of which is Samsara, the far shore Nibbana and the raft is the teaching.

How, dear sir, did you cross the flood?”

“By not halting, friend, and by not straining I crossed the flood.”

“But how is it, dear sir, that by not halting and by not straining you crossed the flood?”

“When I came to a standstill, friend, then I sank; but when I struggled, then I got swept away. It is in this way, friend, that by not halting and by not straining I crossed the flood.”


In Bhikkhu Analayo explanation as I remember he said in the same way I always believed , it littery start with right view. In my own words: The wrong views you have to leave behind and there needs to be convincing factor that you don’t need any views. Like you said. Samsara is the near shore. Well you have to give up views to step off and step in the stream to start moving with your raft towards Nibbana

1 Like