(Just in case, I’m inspired to ask this by a recent view uploaded by Ven. Ñanamoli. I’ve not watched it yet, I only saw the title).
As the title expresses I’d like to know why is it wrong to say that an Arahant does not exist after death. I offer these possibilities (there could be more; if you think another, please, tell me):
a) Something is destroyed in the arahants constitution, which does not allow to say that they continue after death; somehow, there is no more arahant after death.
b) Identity is an illusion, and ‘arahant’ is just a conventional and useful tag to designate a cluster of aggregates that are free from the conditions of suffering and rebirth.
As far as I understand, the first position is consider an heretical/wrong view, for adhering to annihilationism.
However, I’m not sure if the second one is the right explanation, mainly because such reasoning would not apply only to arahants, but for everyone, and such, the Buddha should never talk about the rebirth of a person, because the would be objective delineation of what is that person.
A way I think to save this second interpretation is to say that one should not talk about what happens to a person once the person stops identifying as such person; the subjective achievement of X tells other how to consider X from an outside perspective.
I remember some suttas in which the Buddha tells the audience how they should see the relation between present aggregates and past and future ones, not identifying with those sets of aggregates. The confusing thing to me is that I’m not sure if the Buddha is recommending an strategy (a la Thanissaro), or telling how things actually are. If it’s this second case, then rebirth should be considered a wrong view, regardless of the degree of enlightenment of the person evaluated.
Am I missing or misunderstanding something?
I’d appreciate any view on this matter.