TheWaiting wrote:Ive heard of several different spiritual states which buddhist aspire to and seem very distinct from eachother but their specific differences seem a bit fuzzy too me. Among them are buddhas, arahant, bodhisattvas, and I beleive a few others. Can someone please clearly explain these too me. Both what they mean and their relation to one another (ex. if your a arahant do you have to be a bodhisattvas and if not can you be both at the same time?). As what the sub-forum says Im mostly concern what the scripture and specificly what Buddha himself says but a level of personal interpretation is welcome.
This article on wikipedia tells fairly well about the various stages of enlightenment. Bodhisattas are aspiring Arahants. Buddhas rediscover the path and teach it after it has disappeared in the world. They are bodhisattas for an incredibly long amount of time first. There are also Paccekabuddhas, who become Arahants as well but without a teacher. They become Arahants when there is no teaching Buddha in the world.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_enlightenment
Do you have any questions? We will be happy to explain further.