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The Eighteen Arhats (5)

The Arhat Who Meditates
(Jìngzuò Luóhàn 静坐罗汉)

Nuòjù-luó 诺距罗 was a great warrior. He was a very large man, and extremely strong. He could easily kill anyone with whom he fought, and so indeed he did. It is said that in all of India there was none to rival him.

But he grew tired of killing. He could take away a man's life. But he could not give a man life. To take away life was easy, but the nature of life was a mystery.

After pondering long on these misgivings, he discovered the way of the Buddha, and he became confirmed in the belief that killing was foolish arrogance and a wicked intervention in the destiny of another. So he stopped killing, and he sat in meditation instead, gradually penetrating ever more deeply into the true nature of the universe.

Of course all of the Buddha's disciples meditated. But people thought it was odd to see a huge, muscular man, so clearly suited for killing people, sitting in deep meditation, and so they called him "The Meditating Arhat." Some of them probably meant it to be an insult. But of course it was really a very great compliment.

Indian Names: Vakula or Nakula
Nuòjù-luó 诺距罗 (commonest)
also written Nuòjǔ-luó 诺矩罗
Chinese Name:
Jìngzuò Luóhàn 静坐罗汉, the Meditating Arhat

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