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The highest attainment for Hinayana, arhat has three characteristics.

l. Nothing can bring vexation on them.

2. They are supported by celestial devotees.

3. They will never suffer from transmigration of the soul while in the state of Nirvana.

Ranking next to Buddha, Bodhisattvas are said to command even more supernatural power in addition to the three characteristics the arhats enjoy. That’s why common people would rather have faith in Mahayana so as to become Bodhisattvas.

Sometimes 16 arhats instead of 18 are found in Buddhist temples.


In a famous Buddhist classic written by Nandimitra of Sri Lanka, 16 arhats were recorded in detail. The classic was translated into Chinese by the noted Tang Dynasty monk Xuanzang. The 17th Arhat is Nandimitra. The 18th Arhat repeats the arhat of No.One.

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