Was the buddha a once returner in his previous life?

How to become a buddha ?
Is there any difference between the buddha and arahant besides that they are self awakened instead of guided by others ?



Gotama was able to enter absorptions while he was still living with his father - sitting under rose-apple tree as mentioned in MN 36, MN 85 & MN 100. So it’s likely that he was within the stages like once-return.

Generally becoming a Buddha probably requires very specific kamma. For example in MN 115 it’s mentioned that even though female beings can become fully enlightened it’s not possible for a female to be a Buddha, that’s simply a different previous kamma that seems to be required to perform this role.

Hope this helps :heart:


Why do you reject the notion that unenlightened can mean non arahantship instead of non stream entry ?


Gender is pretty much irrelevant, as one can be female in one life and male in another life. So just because all Buddhas are male, I don’t think that means a female in this life can’t be a Buddha in the next life.

Also attaining jhanas at a young age isn’t unique to Buddhas. Bahiya Barkcloth had supernormal powers even though some say he was a non-ariya. Jhanas are considered supernormal, not Supermundane.

Imho, the only difference between a Buddha and and a regular Arahant, is only that a Buddha is the first Arahant at a time when there are no other Arahants. You can’t even say that he is the only Ariya because we know Brahma Sahampatti was a non-returner who begged the Buddha to teach the dhamma. So Brahma Sahamapatti was a non-returner before Gotama was an Arahant.


Here’s some more traditional answers.


  1. To become a Buddha, first have the intention to do so, practise until one lifetime, you meet a living Buddha, you’re a male, have the capacity to become arahant in that life, but choose not to, instead, you choose to delay your enlightenment in order to become a fully enlightened Buddha, somehow, get the living Buddha to give you a prediction that one day in a very very far future, you’ll become a Buddha, thereby starting you on the journey of Bodhisatta’s 10 perfections.

  2. Buddhas are better than arahants in terms of ability to guide and teach others.


  1. To be a Buddha, develop the Bodhicitta mind, the mind who wishes to become Buddha for the sake of all sentient beings. Practise the 6 perfections, read and follow the Mahayana sutras, vow to always be on the Bodhisattva path for life after life. There’s 10 Bhumis of Bodhisattva path, and after a certain stage, there’s no regress, after like 8th Bhumi, one is beyond arahanthood. 10th Bhumi Bodhisattvas are just biding their time to emerge in the world as a Buddha.

  2. Arahants can still train to become Bodhisattvas to become Buddhas, so a lot more to learn, generally, still Buddhas are superior to Arahants due to them having superior skills in teaching.


That’s some awesome Dhamma topics about gender, jhanas & stages of enlightenment! All of these were addressed today during sutta class for anyone interested to explore:


The possible explanation is He never attained it(arahantship) in his past life that’s why he born again and became arahant in his present life it’s just he was not silent but willing to teach and he was the first arahant thus a buddha too

Furthermore in vinaya there is a lay story, he became stream entry and just after becoming stream entry he became arahant so it’s possible to go from say stream entry to arahantship fruit or from once-return to arahantship fruit

Furthermore All stream entry will become arahant after 7 rebirths so arahantship is still the end goal of even stream entry let alone once returner

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No. If the Bodhisatta had attained even stream-entry in a former life then he would not have gone astray in his final life by undertaking the path of devotion to self-torture. Someone who knows path from not-path and who has abandoned the lower fetter of sīlabbataparāmāsa couldn’t even become a dog-duty or an ox-duty ascetic, let alone a self-torturer.


Do you have any sutta or visuddhimagga to back that ?

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But the Buddha didn’t settle for self torture at the end of the day, he saw that it didn’t lead to Arahantship/unbinding/knowledge and abandoned it. If he had the fetter of rituals, perhaps he would have been like the group of five, who wanted to continue being extreme ascetics.

Perhaps him abandoning and leaving alara kalama and udakka ramaputta and the extreme ascetics is a sign of him subconsciously being aware that “this is not the way/path”.


The puthujjana:

owing to his unknowing about cessation and the path, [a worldling] misperceives the cessation of suffering to be in some particular destiny [such as the Brahmá-world] that is not in fact cessation; he misperceives the path to cessation, believing it to consist in sacrifices, mortification for immortality, etc., which are not in fact the path to cessation; and so while aspiring to the cessation of suffering, he embarks upon the three kinds of formations in the form of sacrifices, mortification for immortality, and so on.
(Path of Purification XVII 62)

The sotāpanna:

the [stream-entry] path knowledge forestalls wrong theories of means that occur by taking to be the way of purification what is not the way of purification and consists in devotion to indulgence in the pleasures of sense desire and in self-mortification.
(Ibid. XVI 85)


What’s ibid ? Why don’t you quote visuddhimagga definition of stream entry ?


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Ibid. is an abbreviation for the Latin word ibīdem , meaning “in the same place”, commonly used in an endnote, footnote, bibliography citation, or scholarly reference to refer to the source cited in the preceding note or list item. This is similar to Idem , literally meaning “the same”, abbreviated id. , which is commonly used in legal citation.[1]
Source: Ibid. - Wikipedia

Both his quotes are from Path of Purification, which is the Visuddhimagga (PDF) you are referring to.


How to become buddha ?

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Seems like the Bodhisatta was quite aware of what is not path

In this way, monks, did Āḷāra the Kālāma, being my teacher, set me—the pupil—on the same level as himself and honoured me with the highest honour.

Then it occurred to me, monks:

‘This Dhamma does not conduce to disregard nor to dispassion nor to stopping nor to tranquillity nor to super-knowledge nor to awakening nor to Nibbāna, but only as far as reaching the plane of no-thing.’

So I, monks, not getting enough from this Dhamma, disregarded and turned away from this Dhamma.

Gotami asked the Buddha how does one know if something is dhamma or not dhamma

: “It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief such that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute.”

“As for the qualities of which you may know, ‘These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome’: You may categorically hold, ‘This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher’s instruction.’”

So the Bodhisatta knew the Dhamma in brief as a Boddhisatta.

Do puthujannas know to look for dispassion, unbinding, Nibbana?

Is there any evidence in the suttas of a sotapanna being reborn human and instantly knowing the noble eightfold path?

The Buddha talks about memory from life to life here for someone reborn as a deva:

Take another mendicant who memorizes the teaching—statements, songs, discussions, verses, inspired exclamations, legends, stories of past lives, amazing stories, and classifications. They’ve followed those teachings by ear, reinforced them by recitation, examined them by the mind, and well comprehended them theoretically. But they die unmindful and are reborn in one of the orders of gods. Though they’re happy there, passages of the teaching don’t come back to them. However, a mendicant with psychic powers, who has achieved mastery of the mind, teaches Dhamma to the assembly of gods. They think: ‘I used to live the spiritual life in this same teaching and training.’ Memory comes up slowly, but then that being quickly reaches distinction. Suppose a person was skilled in the sound of drums. While traveling along a road they hear the sound of drums. They wouldn’t have any doubts or uncertainties about whether that was the sound of drums or not. They’d just conclude, ‘That’s the sound of drums.’ In the same way, take another mendicant who memorizes the teaching … But they die unmindful and are reborn in one of the orders of gods. … Memory comes up slowly, but then that being quickly reaches distinction. This is the second benefit you can expect when the teachings have been followed by ear, reinforced by recitation, examined by the mind, and well comprehended theoretically.

  • AN 4.191

So here the Buddha says the teachings don’t come back to them, yet like recognizing the sound of a drum, a person will recognize the dhamma when they hear it.

So in other words, they don’t know the n8fp when they are reborn, but they know when something is not the dhamma, just like the Buddha knew that Alarma Kalama, Udaka Ramputta, and the self-torturers were not following the dhamma/way.


We don’t know for certain, it’s open to speculation or interpretation.

Yes, I would say it is referring to Ariyas because the condition for becoming an Ariya is hearing the true dhamma with proper attention (yoniso manasikara) resulting in Right View.

Sariputta hadn’t heard the true Dhamma until he ran into Ven Assaji. The Budddha heard the True Dhamma (Sadhamma) already under Kassapa Buddha as Jotipala.

The Buddha said that even trees would become Ariyas if they could hear the true dhamma.

Someone who has spent a lot of time memorizing and understanding the true dhamma (suttas, birth stories, etc…) is most likely an Ariya.


Sorry but this got me curious. Where did you read this? :anjal:



Probably from here-

If these great sal trees could understand what was well said and poorly said, I’d declare them to be stream-enterers. Why can’t this apply to Sarakāni? Mahānāma, Sarakāni the Sakyan undertook the training at the time of his death.” - SuttaCentral


So easy? Haha. Time to hit the books (suttas).


Yep. The Buddha was able to convert people who wanted to kill him (devadatta’s henchmen) to Ariyas, one by one.

He also converted 120,000 lay people to Ariyas in one shot with one sermon.

Here’s a PDF that covers the topic