Definition of arhat in English:



  • (in Buddhism and Jainism) a saint of one of the highest ranks.

    • ‘But, differently from other temples where either the 18 arhats who preach Buddhism or the 20 ‘Guardians of Buddhist Law’ stand on two sides of the hall, here, they stand together.’
    • ‘The Hinayana approach stresses the ideal of the arhat, the enlightened one who has attained nirvana.’
    • ‘It has electric lights and the tiny figures of the arhats move.’
    • ‘Eighteen arhats stands by the two sides of the statue.’
    • ‘In addition, as a gesture of turning the wheel of Dharma, the Buddhas and arhats always go in a clockwise direction, so it seems sensible and appropriate to incorporate this also.’
    • ‘The statue of Ragora, meanwhile, one of eighteen arhats produced for the Kyoto temple Manpukuji in 1663-64, depicts the figure holding open his abdomen to reveal the face of the Buddha (the Buddha nature) within.’
    • ‘Buddha said, ‘Indra, all of the great arhats among my disciples cannot decipher the meaning of this.’’
    • ‘A 3.5-metre-long ivory is another treasure blessing the palace, on which is carved a subminiature sutra of 82,000 characters and pictures of 500 arhats.’
    • ‘In fact, there were many great teachers at the time of the Buddha, thousands of women who attained liberation, who became arhats, and we can point to a number of women Buddhist teachers throughout history.’
    • ‘Striving all through the night, Samudra broke through the bonds of earthly attachments and became an arhat, a liberated being.’


From Sanskrit, literally ‘meritorious’.