Is there a rule where if a monk is an arahant and if he is to tell he is an arahant, he can only say it to a Upasampada monk and not even a samanera monk?

If so, please provide the source of the rule

2 Answers 2


According to the Patimokkha rules:

  • Should any bhikkhu, without direct knowledge, claim a superior human state, a truly noble knowledge and vision, as present in himself, saying, "Thus do I know; thus do I see," such that regardless of whether or not he is cross-examined on a later occasion, he — being remorseful and desirous of purification — might say, "Friends, not knowing, I said I know; not seeing, I said I see — vainly, falsely, idly," unless it was from over-estimation, he also is defeated and no longer in affiliation.

  • Should any bhikkhu report (his own) superior human state to an unordained person, when it is factual, it is to be confessed.

But above, there are no distinctions made between fully ordained monks and novice monks.

  • So basically what it means is if an Arahant has attained enlightenment or any other knowledge, they cannot tell it to lay people? Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 13:18
  • Monks can't tell their own achievements, but they can advise lay people, based on their insights. The lay people wouldn't know who is an Arahant and who isn't.
    – ruben2020
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 13:23
  • Haven't there been incidents where arahants have told that they have become enlightened? Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 13:26
  • Daniel Ingram, the author of the book "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha: An Unusually Hardcore Dharma Book", publicly claims to be an arahant, but then he is not a monk. I am doubtful that a person with interests in dancing, playing and listening to music is an arahant.
    – ruben2020
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 14:32
  • 1
    Even if an Arahant truthfully reports his attainment to a lay person, that is only a minor offense that requires confession. Furthermore, persons at stream winner level and above, have overcome the fetter of attachment to rituals and rules. So, an Arahant would probably not mind telling his attainment to carefully selected lay persons in private, if he thought that it would be extraordinarily helpful. But he probably will not declare it publicly.
    – ruben2020
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 14:34

A monk can only relate his actual attainment of a superior human state to:

  • another monk (bhikkhu), or
  • a nun (bhikkhunī).

In other words, he commits an offense if he relates it to, e.g., a novice (samanera).

Since he told the truth, however, he won't be expelled — he's still considered a bhikkhu — but as @ruben2020 mentioned: he should confess the offense to another bhikkhu.

The factors for the full offense here are two:

  1. Effort: One reports one’s actual attainment of a superior human state

  2. Object: to an unordained person, i.e., any human being who is not a bhikkhu or bhikkhunī.


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