Arahat is derived from the Pāḷi verb arahati meaning to be worthy or Noble and is a title given to someone who has attained Enlightenment as a result of listening to and practising the teachings of a Buddha. Like a Buddha, an arahat has perfected Wisdom and Compassion and is no longer subject to Rebirth. The Buddha describes the arahat as having transcended ‘the round of birth and Death, ... destroyed the taints, lived the holy Life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached the ultimate goal, destroyed the Fetters and become completely free and liberated through final Knowledge’ (M.I,141).
Arahats are often described in the Tipiṭaka and the impression given is that they are quiet, gentle beings, utterly without cares or encumbrances, either Mental or physical. They are ‘calm in Body and free in Mind’ (S.I,126), ‘steady amidst the unsteady’ (Th.192), ‘happy all the time’ (S.I,212) and not worried about where they go (A.II,27). They are ‘not attached to anything, not even to detachment’
(Sn.795), ‘amidst the hostile they live full of Love’ (Dhp.197); they feel ‘at home everywhere’ (Sn.42), because they have ‘transcended all boundaries’ (Sn.795) and ‘put aside all “for” and “against”’ (Sn.362). Arahats are ‘as calm as a pool unstirred by the wind’ (It.91), ‘pure like the waters of a deep still lake’ (Dhp.82), ‘bright as the moon when freed from the clouds’ (Dhp.172) and as ‘clear as the cloudless sky’ (Sn.1065). To the worldly person they might ‘appear to be dumb, but they are not really so’ (Sn.713), in fact, they are ‘as sharp as a razor’s edge’ (Sn.716).
The Early Buddhist Theory of Man Perfected, I. B. Horner, 1979.
See also: Arhat