Is there a will during the nirvana with residue?


Can the arhat have a will (for example a will to help others to suffer less)?
I ask myself this question because I am not sure to understand what is the nirvana with residue.
Is nirvana with residue the end of absolutely ALL desires (including the desire for compassion, or the desire for food), or only the end of attachment desires (like the desire for possession, power, ego etc.)?


May all beings be liberated.

I can try to answer this based on many questions I asked to my teacher.

He has gone through that. He has helped many and reduced sufferings of enough beings to reach arhathood.
First point is, ‘arhat’ is not an easy thing to attain. Now you will say yes that is hard to attain. You may think that you have understood how hard it is…but trust me as my teacher says, we usually cannot comprehend how hard it is.
It is achieved after helping many many myriad of beings!

Nirvana with residue means arhat whom we can see walking and living, Nirvana with residue means place where all the past arhats who are no longer here have gone to.

Also you may also wonder, does arhat don’t have compassion for others? Answer is he has more compassion than you and me can even imagine. Without fulfilling perfections/Paramis nobody can even be sotapanna…it requires tremendous efforts and compassionate activities to reach there. One who is arhat…trust me you and me cannot comprehend his/her compassion. We do think because of our limited understanding that he doesn’t have compassion because many people are suffering and still selfish arhat will enter into nibbana without residue…we are actually at mistake. I would suggest you to read this passage…I’ll provide link for that…

Above link has a passage from text great chronicle of Buddhas. It talks about the last days of venerable sariputta the first chief disciple of Buddha…and how compassionate he was. Link for that complete online text is following…

Just go through the 1st link you will understand why doubting the compassion of arhats is like one of the silliest thing there can be.
I know this because I used to think like why do arhats selfishly enter nibbana instead of helping people like me or others who are still suffering…but now I think how stupid I was.


Let us start by examining these two words - ‘Will’ and ‘Desire’ that have been used in the OP question.


1. The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action: championed freedom of will against a doctrine of predetermination.


a. Diligent purposefulness; determination: an athlete with the will to win.

b. Self-control; self-discipline: lacked the will to overcome the addiction.

3. A desire, purpose, or determination, especially of one in authority: It is the sovereign’s will that the prisoner be spared.

4. Deliberate intention or wish: Let it be known that I took this course of action against my will.

5. Free discretion; inclination or pleasure: wandered about, guided only by will.


Desires are states of mind that are expressed by terms like “wanting”, “wishing”, “longing” or “craving”. A great variety of features is commonly associated with desires. They are seen as propositional attitudes towards conceivable states of affairs. They aim to change the world by representing how the world should be, unlike beliefs, which aim to represent how the world actually is. Desires are closely related to agency: they motivate the agent to realize them. For this to be possible, a desire has to be combined with a belief about which action would realize it. Desires present their objects in a favorable light, as something that appears to be good. Their fulfillment is normally experienced as pleasurable in contrast to the negative experience of failing to do so.

It should therefore be evident that Arahants have ‘Will’ (based on Mindfulness, Compassion etc) but not ‘Desire’ (since they have no Craving or Grasping).

A mendicant with grasping does not become extinguished.

That’s the cause, that’s the reason why some sentient beings aren’t fully extinguished in the present life.

An Arahant can freely choose any course of action (other than those that are unskillful - such as killing, lying, stealing etc). However they are not attached to any particular perceived result of that action.


Yes, the “will” is part of the sankhara khandha. The sankhara khandha does not cease until parinibbāna