Simple answer, in Theravada, there is no big doubt as one could still become an Arahant although there are stories that the ex Bodhisattas' partners (or spouses) in their previous lives will appear and disturb them for backtracking on their original commitment.Guy wrote:Another thread made me wonder, what are the Theravada and/or Mahayana views on someone who renounces the path of a Bodhisatta in order to practice for Arahantship. Is this mentioned at all in the Suttas of either tradition?
In Mahayana, things are more serious because one have taken on additional vows. And when you break a vow, there are always negative consequences. Therefore, the more vows one have, the greater is the penalty if one backtrack on them.
However, there are a few exceptions. In some rare cases, whereby an inspired Bodhisattva undergo rebirth and forgets about his original vows in the previous life before taking on a Buddhist practice and enter the stream. He will not face any serious penalty since he does not break his vows consciously but do so due to ignorance and lack of accumulated aspiration. (Still there are Mahayana Sutras that spoke against this regression)