Zen Wisdom 229



Can Shih-fu discuss the similarities and differences between arhats and bodhisattvas? When someone attains arhatship, what reason is there to do anything but remain in that state? Does an arhat stay that way for eternity, or can arhats become bodhisattvas or Buddhas? If bodhisattvas have no more desire, what causes them to progress further?


First we have to understand the position of arhatship. When a person has attained arhatship, what has been attained and what has been left behind? Is an arhat necessarily a Hinayana practitioner? Could a bodhisattva also be or have been an arhat? Under what circumstances can an arhat change to the Bodhisattva Path? Or will he or she stay an arhat indefinitely? Finally, if a bodhisattva has terminated desire, what factors push him or her to practice further?