155 Spiritual & Physical Differences Between Buddhas & Arhats

All who give rise to Bodhicitta
are able to become Bodhisatvas,
who are able to become Buddhas,
who are able to guide
all to give rise to Bodhicitta.

Stonepeace | Books

The Lord [Sakyamuni] Buddha: ‘What do you think, Sariputra, does it occur to any of the [Sravaka] Disciples [who attained self-liberation of Arhathood via listening to and practising the Buddha’s teachings] and Pratyekabuddhas [who attained self-liberation of Pratyekabuddhahood via contemplation of dependent origination without listening to any Buddha’s teachings] to think that “after we have known full enlightenment, we should lead all beings to Nirvana, into the realm of Nirvana which leaves nothing behind [Nirvana without residue]”‘? Sariputra: ‘No indeed, O Lord.’

The Lord: ‘One should therefore know that this wisdom of the [Sravaka] Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas bears no comparison with the wisdom of a Bodhisattva [who aspires and practises for Buddhahood, to perfect all virtues for helping all beings do the same]. What do you think, Sariputra, does it occur to any of the [Sravaka] Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas that “after I have practised the Six Perfections {[1] Generosity [2] Morality [3] Patience [4] Diligence [5] Concentration [6] Wisdom}, have brought beings to [spiritual] maturity, have purified the Buddha-field [created a Pure Land with perfect compassion, wisdom and meritorious virtues for guiding other beings to Buddhahood], have fully gained the Ten Powers {Complete knowledge of all [1] conditions’ rights and wrongs [2] karma of past, present and future [3] stages of meditation, concentration and liberation [4] capacities and future attainments [5] desires and inclinations [6] natures and conditions [7] actions’ effects [8] past lives and their causes [9] future lives and their causes [10] eradication of afflictions, delusions and habits} of a Tathagata [Buddha],

his Four Grounds Of Self-Confidence {Four Fearlessnesses in declaration of [1] complete enlightenment to truth of all phenomena (omniscience) [2] eradication of all afflictions from craving and delusion (perfection of character) [3] all hindrances that obstruct Buddhahood (for overcoming of all obstacles) [4] right path to end all suffering (to attain full liberation; omnibenevolence)], the Four Analytical Knowledges [perfect knowledge of [1] meaning [2] Dharma [3] language [4] courageous eloquence} and the Eighteen Special [Exclusive] Dharmas Of A Buddha {[1–3] perfection in conduct, speech, and mindfulness [4] impartiality to all [5] constant serenity [6] equability toward sensory experiences [7] unceasing desire to deliver beings [8] inexhaustible energy for helping beings [9] unfailing memory of the Dharma [10] perfect wisdom in everything [11] total liberation from afflictions and habits [12] perfect knowledge and views of liberation [13–15] perfect karma of body, speech and mind led by wisdom [16–18] perfect knowledge of the past, present, and future}, after I have known full enlightenment [of Buddhahood], I shall lead countless beings to [Ultimate] Nirvana”?’ Sariputra: ‘No, O Lord.’

The Lord: ‘But such are the intentions of a Bodhisattva. A glowworm, or some other luminous animal, does not think that its light could illuminate the continent of Jambudvipa [this part of the world], or radiate light over it. Just so, the [Sravaka] Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas do not think that they should, after winning full enlightenment [of Buddhahood], lead all beings to [Ultimate] Nirvana. But the sun, when it has risen, radiates its light over the whole of Jambudvipa. Just so, a Bodhisattva, after s/he has accomplished the practices which lead to the full enlightenment of Buddhahood, leads countless beings to [this Ultimate] Nirvana.’

[Notes: In other words, Arhats, Pratyekabuddhas and those who aspire to be like them have yet to give rise to Bodhicitta to be Bodhisattvas lack the motivation to accomplish the 43 spiritual qualities listed, thus being different from Buddhas, who have perfected them. For physical qualities, Buddhas have 32 major appealing characteristics with 80 accompanying excellences that reflect their spiritual supremacy. The practical effects of these 155 physical and spiritual qualities can be seen in the scope and depth of the Buddhas’ guidance of beings to Buddhahood being the most profound and skilful possible.]

– Pancavimsatisahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra (40-41)

Buddhist Texts Through The Ages
Translated & Edited By Edward Conze, I.B. Horner, David Snellgrove & Arthur Waley (p.119)


  • As additional information, A Chakravarti(or wheel-turning monarch)has 32 major appealing characteristics too. Those found in the Budda are of course much more prominent and refined.

    There are exclusive ones as well. One of them is the ‘ His head is like a royal turban with the unseen diadem’. Unseen diadem is achieved by observing the following:

    Bowed his head to the feet of his parents, to the feet of śramanas, brāhmins, and spiritual teachers, to all worthy of offerings. To the wandering monks he has spoken with just words, giving beggars colored powders, garlands, and head ornaments.

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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