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arhat (also arhan, 阿羅漢, or Arahat) literally means "foe destroyer" or "worthy of respect". In early Indian texts, the stage of arhat is the final goal of Buddhist practice—the attainment of nirvāna, which means the complete elimination of affliction, and the end of rebirth into the world of suffering. The highest rank of attainment in early Indian Buddhism; one who has eliminated all afflictions and reached the stage of "nothing left to learn." The fourth and highest stage of the śrāvaka path. (Tib. dgra bcom pa; Pali arahant). Arahant is the Pali form of the Sanskrit/Vedic word arhat.

In some texts the term is equivalent to Buddha. One of the ten epithets of the Buddha.

In Mahāyāna texts, the arhat, (or the śrāvaka and pratyekabuddha who are practicing towards arhatship) are placed in the position of foils for the Mahāyāna hero, the bodhisattva, and thus these practitioners of the two vehicles are disparaged as adherents of the "lesser vehicle," said to be engaged in practices that are self-centered and incomplete in the wisdom of emptiness.

See also: lohan 羅漢 tradition in China.

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