Thursday, 31 January 2008

Arahant, Lohan 罗汉

Requested by friends to put up the infomation in English since I had given the information on Lohan in chinese before.

Arahant or Lohan is one who has followed the Eightfold Path and has achieved deliverance of this earthly existence. He has reached "the other shore" and is saved for all eternity. In him the asavas - the craving for sensual pleasures, earthly existence, ignorance and wrong views - are gone. He is subject to no more rebirths and karma.

Lohans are well-known for their great wisdom, courage and supernatural power. Due to their abilities to ward off the evil, Lohans have became guardian angels of the Buddhist temple and there in the main hall standing guard are the ever-present, indomitable-looking 18 Lohan figures.

According to tradition, there were originally only 16 lohans. Two were added on the list by the Chinese in the Tang Dynasty.
Legend has it that the first portraits of the 18 Lohans were painted by a Buddhist monk Guan Xiu, in 891 A.D. Guan Xiu lived in Chengdu, the capital of a small kingdom, the Former Shu, formed at the decline of the Tang Dynasty in what is today's Sichuan Province. He was adept at the scholarly pursuits of painting, calligraphy and poetry.
It was because of his expert painting skill that the Lohans chose him to paint their portraits. They appeared to him in his dreams to make that request.

The traditional order of the 18 Lohans is based on the order in which they appeared in Guan Xiu's dreams, not on the strength of their power.

The order are:

  • Deer Sitting (PINDOLA, the Bharadvaja)
  • Happy (KANAKA, the Vasta)

  • Raised Bowl (KANAKA, the Bharadvaja)

  • Raised Pagoda (NANDIMITRA)

  • Meditating (NAKULA)

  • Oversea (BODHIDRUMA)

  • Elephant Riding (KALIKA)

  • Laughing Lion (VAJRAPUTRA)

  • Open Heart (GOBAKA)

  • Raised Hand (PANTHA, the Elder)

  • Thinking (RAHULA)

  • Scratched Ear (NAGASENA)

  • Calico Bag (ANGIDA)

  • Plantain (VANAVASA)

  • Long Eyebrow (ASITA)

  • Doorman (PANTHA, the Younger)

  • Taming Dragon (NANTIMITOLO)

  • Taming Tiger (PINDOLA)
For a detailed version of the various Lohan, you may like to visit this website :

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