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While reading Bodhidharma's Two Entrances and Four Practices, I found Bodhidharma telling Arhats ain't enlightened.

Among Shakyamuni's ten greatest disciples, Ananda was foremost in learning. But he didn't know the Buddha. All he did was study and memorize. Arhats don't know the Buddha. All they know are so many practices for realization, and they become trapped by cause and effect. Such is a mortal's karma: no escape from birth and death. By doing the opposite of what he intended, such people blaspheme the Buddha. Killing them would not be wrong. The sutras say, "Since icchantikas45 are incapable of belief, killing them would be blameless, whereas people who believe reach the state of buddhahood."

Is it true or I am wrongly understanding Bodhidharma?


Note that Killing them won't be wrong is just a figure of speech. It isn't meant to be taken in literal sense.

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Is it true or I am wrongly understanding Bodhidharma?

I don't know about Bodhidharma or Zen, specifically, but I think that is inline with what you can read in or about some other "Mahayana" doctrines e.g. Wikipedia -- Arhat:

Arhat is defined in Theravada Buddhism as one who has gained insight into the true nature of existence and has achieved nirvana. Other Buddhist traditions have used the term for people far advanced along the path of Enlightenment, but who may not have reached full Buddhahood.

The understanding of the concept has changed over the centuries, and varies between different schools of Buddhism and different regions. A range of views on the attainment of arhats existed in the early Buddhist schools. The Sarvāstivāda, Kāśyapīya, Mahāsāṃghika, Ekavyāvahārika, Lokottaravāda, Bahuśrutīya, Prajñaptivāda, and Caitika schools all regarded arhats as imperfect in their attainments compared to buddhas.

Mahayana Buddhist teachings urge followers to take up the path of a bodhisattva, and to not fall back to the level of arhats and śrāvakas. The arhats, or at least the senior arhats, came to be widely regarded[by whom?] as "moving beyond the state of personal freedom to join the Bodhisattva enterprise in their own way".

See also e.g. Śrāvaka -- Mahāyāna view:

In Mahayana Buddhism, śrāvakas or arhats are sometimes contrasted negatively with bodhisattvas.

In the 4th century abhidharma work Abhidharmasamuccaya, Asaṅga describes those who follow the Śrāvakayāna. These people are described as having weak faculties, following the Śrāvaka Dharma, utilizing the Śrāvaka Piṭaka, being set on their own liberation, and cultivating detachment in order to attain liberation. Those in the Pratyekabuddhayāna are portrayed as also utilizing the Śrāvaka Piṭaka, are said to have medium faculties, to follow the Pratyekabuddha Dharma, and to be set on their own personal enlightenment. Finally, those in the Mahāyāna "Great Vehicle" are portrayed as utilizing the Bodhisattva Piṭaka, as having sharp faculties, following the Bodhisattva Dharma, and set on the perfection and liberation of all beings, and the attainment of complete enlightenment.

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Arhats don't know the Buddha. All they know are so many practices for realization, and they become trapped by cause and effect.

Don't forget it was Bodhidharma's Zen school which also taught that all famous PaiChang's fox story, a cautionary tale about the danger of horrific regression for those who thought they're already at the top of their game.

Note that Killing them won't be wrong is just a figure of speech. It isn't meant to be taken in literal sense.

Well, since so many things in those Zen texts are figures of speech, maybe Bodhidharma's highlighted message was also just a figure of speech. Afterall, when in doubt, try to err on the safe side and heed the Buddha's advice in DN 16 about the Four Great Referalls.

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