Buddha and sixteen Arhats

The noble sons of the Buddha, the Great Arhats, who attained liberation from samsara, were the first to organize the early Sangha. Completely free from the emotions of desire and anger, they, without being distracted, absorbed the words of the Buddha, without falling into extremes of misunderstanding or misinterpretation. Like a pure crystal that collects the sun’s rays and transmits them further without the slightest distortion, the Great Arhats took the example of the Buddha and passed on to others the preciousness of the Dharma teachings.

In the Sutras, among the multitude of Arhats who constantly accompanied the Buddha, one can find the names of five of them associated with certain actions. For example, Shariputra was reputed to be the best in comprehending Abidarma. Upali was the undisputed authority in Vinaya. Ananda is the personal assistant of Shakyamuni Buddha. He heard every word uttered by the Tathagata. Mautgalyana is known for his spiritual strength. Mahakashyapa became the greatest ascetic. Subhuti fully understood Prajnaparamita.

The disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni took a special vow at the moment of Buddha’s Parinirvana. They vowed to preserve the Dharma in this world until the arrival of Buddha Maitreya. Since then, their presence has sustained the Sangha and inspired the efforts of those seeking liberation.

Buddha and sixteen Arhats


2019-2020, 95 x 64 cm

canvas, mineral pigments, gold, brocade, silk

Author’s property