Sixteen Arhats

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Buddha and the Sixteen Arhats

Sixteen Arhats or Sthaviras (Skt. Ṣoḍaśa Sthavirāḥ; Tib. གནས་བརྟན་བཅུ་དྲུག, Neten Chudruk; Wyl. gnas brtan bcu drug) — Buddha Shakyamuni personally selected the Sixteen Arhats from amongst his disciples and requested them to remain in the world, protecting the Dharma for as long as beings are capable of benefitting from the teachings. They vowed at the time of the parinirvana to remain in the world and maintain the Dharma until the time of the future Buddha Maitreya. To visualize the Buddha Shakyamuni surrounded by the Sixteen Arhats and an assembly of bodhisattvas generates great merit and quickly develops insight into the teachings of the Buddha.

  1. Angaja (Tib. Yenlag Chung; Wyl. yan lag ‘byung)
  2. Ajita (Tib. Ma Phampa; Wyl. ma pham pa)
  3. Vanavasin (Tib. Nagnanepa; Wyl. nags na gnas pa)
  4. Mahakalika (Tib. Düden Chenpo; Wyl. dus ldan chen po)
  5. Vajriputra (Tib. Dorje Möbu; Wyl. rdo rje mo’i bu)
  6. Shribhadra (Tib. Pal Zangpo; Wyl. dpal bzang)
  7. Kanakavatsa (Tib. Sergyi Be'u; Wyl. gser gyi be’u)
  8. Kanaka (Tib. Serchen; Wyl. gser can)
  9. Bakula (Tib. Bakula; Wyl. ba ku la)
  10. Rahula, the Buddha's son (Tib. Drachen Dzin; Wyl. sgra gcan 'dzin)
  11. Chulapanthaka (Tib. Lamtren Ten; Wyl. lam phran bstan)
  12. Pindola Bharadvaja (Tib. Bharadodza Sönyom Len; Wyl. bha ra dhwa dza bsod snyoms len)
  13. Panthaka (Tib. Lamchenten; Wyl. lam chen bstan)
  14. Nagasena (Tib. Lüdé; Wyl. klu sde)
  15. Gopaka (Tib. Bechepa; Wyl. sbed byed)
  16. Abhedya (Tib. Michepa; Wyl. mi phyed pa)

The Sixteen Arhats are usually shown in thangkas accompanied by their two attendants, Hva Shang and Upasaka Dharmatala and by the Four Great Kings.

Further Reading

In Tibetan

  • Mipham Rinpoche, 'phags pa'i gnas brtan chen po bcu drug gi lo rgyus mdor bsdus

In English

  • Crystal Mirror, volume VI, Dharma Publishing 1984
  • M. W. de Visser, The Arhats in China and Japan, Oesterheld & Co. Berlin, 1923
  • Tate, J. 'The Sixteen Arhats in Tibetan Painting,' in Oriental Art 35, 4 1989/90, pp. 196-206

External Links

Gallery

The Sixteen Arhats

The Two Attendants

The Four Great Kings