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The Eighteen Arhats (11)

The Arhat Deep in Thought
(Chénsī Luóhàn 沉思罗汉)

It is said that, before he set out on his quest for enlightenment, Prince Xīdá-duō 悉达多 (Siddhārtha), who became the Buddha, fathered a son. But the young father was deep in thought when he received the news, thinking about all the obstacles that lay in the path of a person trying to find enlightenment, and he kept repeating to himself "obstacles, obstacles."

A servant had come to ask the new-born child's name, and heard Prince Xīdá-duō repeating this phrase, so the child was named “obstacles,” which is the meaning of Luó-hóuluó 罗睺罗.

(Some people say it means “eclipse,” since he was born during an eclipse, and therefore, since eclipses come in cycles, that he is destined to be reborn as the son of every buddha. Some people also say that he was in his mother’s womb for six years and was born only when his father attained enlightenment.)

When he grew up, Luó-hóuluó, like his father, set out to seek enlightenment. At first, determined to find the true path on his own, and, like many youths, skeptical of his father’s wisdom, he followed other masters and practiced other disciplines. But in the end, as his insight deepened, he realized, as many youths do, that his father was wiser than anticipated, and he became one of his father’s followers.

Because of his deep concentration and profound insight, Luó-hóuluó is normally called Chénsī luóhàn 沉思罗汉, "The Arhat Deep in Thought."

Indian Names: Rāhula
Luó-hóuluó 罗睺罗
also written Luó-hùluō 罗怙罗
Chinese Names:
Chénsī Luóhàn 沉思罗汉, the Arhat Deep in Thought

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