18 Arhats – Part 2

The following are the second six of eighteen arhat images recently installed in the newly renovated garden at Chùa Tảo Sách, Hanoi, Vietnam. In Mahāyāna Buddhism, they are considered to be the original followers of the Buddha to have passed through the four stages of awakening. 1 The poems accompanying each image were written by the Qianlong Emperor (乾隆皇帝) after a visit to see the paintings by a monk named Guan Xiu (貫休). Please click on the images to enlarge.

 

“Riding an elephant with a dignified air,
Chanting aloud the sutras.
With a heart for the humanity,
Eyes scanning the four corners of the universe.” – Kỵ Tượng La hán, 騎象羅漢, Kālika, Elephant Riding Luohan

 

“Playful and free of inhibitions,
The lion cub leaps with joy.
Easily alternating tension with relaxation,
Rejoicing with all living things.” – Tiếu Sư La hán, 笑獅羅漢, Vajriputra, Laughing Lion Luohan

 

“Open the heart and there is Buddha,
Each displaying his prowess.
The two should not compete,
For Buddha’s power is boundless.” – Khai Tâm La hán, 開心羅漢, Jīvaka/Gobaka, Open Heart Luohan

 

“Easy and comfortable,
Yawning and stretching.
In a state of omniscience,
Contented with his own lot.” – Thám Thủ La hán, 探手羅漢, Panthaka, Raised Hand Luohan

 

“Pondering and meditating,
Understanding it all.
Above this world and free from conventions,
Compassion conveyed up to the Ninth Heaven.” – Trầm Tư La hán, 沉思羅漢, Rāhula, Thinking Luohan

 

“Leisurely and contented,
Happy and knowledgeable.
Full of wit and humour,
Exuberant with interest.” – Oát Nhĩ La hán, 挖耳羅漢, Nāgasena, Scratch Ear Luohan

 

All photos ©Ashin Sopāka 2018

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Notes:

  1. The four stages are stream-entry, once-returner, non-returner, and arahat, or in Pāḷi sotāpanna, sakadāgāmī, anāgāmī, and arahatta