Following are the instances of Lay Arahants that I'm aware of;

  1. Uggasena the acrobat
  2. Santati the King Pasenadi's Minister
  3. King Suddodhana [Looking for reference]

What are the other instances of lay arahants (excluding Paccekabuddhas) in the recorded history?

  • 1
    By "What are the other instances?", I guess you mean, other than the three which you listed, and other than the 21 which Dhammawiki says are listed in AN 6. Or are you asking, "What are the 21?"?
    – ChrisW
    Jul 21, 2016 at 16:55
  • I checked in AN 6.12 and it lists 21 names who became sotapanna, not arahants. So I changed my question. Thanks for pointing out. Jul 21, 2016 at 17:16
  • Ok, so you're saying that Dhammawiki is wrong: and that this list of 21 (including Bhallika) is a list of sotapannas.
    – ChrisW
    Jul 21, 2016 at 17:26
  • 2
    Yes Obviously. It lists Jīvaka Komarabacca, Anāthapiṇḍika, Mahanama the Sakya etc who are well known as sotapannas. Jul 21, 2016 at 17:29

2 Answers 2


Ven Bahiya. Buddha proclaimed him great disciple of fast learner of Dhamma. He reached enlightenment while was a lay person, however, he was killed while looking for personal items to join the Sangha. Buddha classified him as one of the 41 great Bhikku.

  • Thanks, but he was not a lay person. He was an ascetic. Jul 21, 2016 at 18:29
  • Bahiya Sutta Ud 1.10 Jul 21, 2016 at 18:32
  • 1
    oh thats right.. my remember his story before he had gone forth, as a merchant with now south-east asia. But you are right.. he became ascetic after final failed expedition.
    – user5056
    Jul 21, 2016 at 18:39
  • Sutta says that he was in seashore of Supparaka; it's now called Nala Sopara near Mumbai in west India. Jul 21, 2016 at 18:50

In the Soṇa Sutta 1 (S 22.49), the Supreme Buddha teaches Soṇa the houselord‘s son of Rājagaha, a teaching usually given to monastics. At the end of the discourse, Soṇa the houselord‘s son becomes an arhat . https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.49

Laymen arhants are very rare. No sooner they attain Nibbana, if they do not join the order of Sangha, they are unable to live as lay disciples and they attain parinibbana. In the The Gilāyana Sutta (S 55.54), Buddha tells how a lay follower in his/her deathbed can become a Arahant. And the lay followers liberation (while in his deathbed) is no different to that of a monk. http://www.themindingcentre.org/dharmafarer/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/4.10-Mahanama-Gilayana-S-s55.54-piya.pdf

Also I have heard of a mention in one of the suttas, as to how a king became an Arahant while resting. His queen (wife) was fanning him first and gives the task to a servant girl. It was the rhythm of her bangles was the trigger that awakened him. No sooner I find the reference to this, I will post it.

  • Are you sure, at the end of the discourse, Soṇa the houselord‘s son becomes an arhat? Jul 22, 2016 at 5:45
  • Thanks but the sutta does not imply that Sona became an arahant. Jul 22, 2016 at 13:35

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