36/34 Arakan



The Arhat

Arakan represents the sound of the Sanskrit word arhan or arhat, which means a person who is worthy of veneration. Arhathood is also the ultimate state of the Sravaka, or rigoristic Buddhist. The Sravaka belongs to Hinayana Buddhism, and so Mahayana Buddhists usually did not value arhathood. But Master Dogen did not share this opinion. According to Master Dogen, there cannot be any difference between Hinayana Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism, because he believed that there is only one Buddhism, which has been transmitted from Gautama Buddha to us. He thought that the difference between Mahayana Buddhism and Hinayana Buddhism was a difference produced by the difference between ages, and so we should not affirm the existence of more than one Buddhism. From this basis he explained the supreme value of the arhat in this chapter.