Arhatship Attainment Status and the Role of the Seven Emotions and Six Desires

A Washington State Practitione

PureInsight | June 2, 2003

Zhuan Falun tells us if we Dafa cultivators raise our xinxing level and follow the tenets of Truth, Compassion and Tolerance, we can reach several ever-higher stages sainthood and godhood. The first level is that of Arhat, followed by Boddhisattava and then Tathagata, and, if we deserve it, even higher. Can we easily accomplish this? Let's take a look.

Just what does it mean, anyway, to become a saint, an Arhat? Who might become an Arhat, a person deserving respect, a person one wants to emulate? What are our prerequisites to get to that stage? When are the requirements fulfilled? Where do we find inspiration and encouragement to urge us along on this path and why is it a good thing?

Zhuan Falun also compels us to get to higher levels of attainment status, to abandon the Seven Emotions - Joy, Anger, Grief, Worry, Fear, Sentiments and Affection - and the Six Desires - Lust, Vanity, dignity, Pleasant Sounds, Good Life/Death, Sensual Pleasures.-Abandoning all these common people's notions fits right in with Master's directives to get rid of or AT LEAST take lightly all run-of-the-mill people's notions, something quite difficult to do in the beginning stages of our Buddha School cultivation. If we can at least take all those "sevens and sixes" lightly, we are well on our way to climb the first rung on the ladder to Arhatship, to sainthood. This is indeed a good thing, given the state of humanity at the present time.

The term Arhat derives from ancient Sanskrit language and means "a person deserving of respect; entitled to; worthy; venerable; praiseworthy," but one who is still awaiting Nirvana.

Nirvana is another Sanskrit term, variously interpreted as meaning blowing out" or "extinguishing," and at the same time connotes the extraordinary, ultimate stage in which one has attainted disinterested wisdom and compassion, the extinction of all attachments, arriving at illumination or enlightenment." A different source suggests Nirvana to be "the absolute, which gives insights into the unity of the cosmos, into body, mind and soul."

People in the West often misunderstand Nirvana to merely mean annihilation, the end of life. Literally translated, Nirvana means, "the blowing out of a candle." The extinguished fire, though, does not vanish forever, but instead becomes invisible, passing into the cosmos, thereby trans-substantiating into another mode of existence; an Arhat, therefore, still has lots of task to complete, and several of those must happen at different levels of Arhatship.

All things we need to know to reach sainthood (Arhatship) are contained in the book Zhuan Falun, as are the teachings necessary to reach higher levels of sainthood or godliness, all based on abandoning the seven emotions and six desires and diligently adhering to the principles of Zhen Shan Ren. One of the resources regarding attainment of Arhat status spoke of "overcoming the impurities of desire for anything, of overcoming ill will and ignorance." In addition to abandoning the seven emotions and six desires, good conduct, decisive positive mental development and wisdom are the keys.

In a section dealing with good conduct, one writer mentions that an aspirant for sainthood/Arhatship, in order to develop insights, must avoid telling lies, avoid harsh speech, gossiping, greed, conceit, restlessness, anger and the wrong attitude, thus purifying the mind. This particular author cautions, though, that these avoidances only lay the foundation for the path leading to "blowing out the candle" and he adds that mental efforts include the correct use of one's abilities, righteous thoughts and righteous meditation. When the mind is free of distraction, it can then control and concentrate on that which is universal, on the higher cosmos.

The development of such awareness and insight happens gradually, but one must persist and be consistent to achieve the goal of wisdom.

Progress on the path to Arhatship depends entirely on one's elimination of the Seven Emotions and Six Desires, within the framework of the teachings in Zhuan Falun. The more diligent a person acts in his/her journey on the path, the faster the goal will be reached.

These are only part and parcel of the teachings in Zhuan Falun. The inner meanings contained in the wisdom of those pages are much more profound and far-reaching, encompassing concepts beyond description in human words that one can only fathom if one really studies the text.

Since Master has given us everything we need to know to reach sainthood, would it not be wise to abide by these principles taught in Zhuan Falun and make good use of our time?

The Way of Life, Lao Tzu
The Spirit of Tao, (Thomas Cleary translation and editing)
Zhuan Falun, Li Hongzhi
"Nature of the Spirit," Internet. Cologne, Germany "Digital Sanskrit Lexicon,"

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