How old were each (or several) of the Buddha's students when they became arhats? I know Buddha was 35. I researched so far by Googling it and also by looking into Sariputra's life and also trying to infer based on what station in life that arhat was at.

My question comes from the thought, "Hey, if a 37 year old can become an arhat, maybe I can too!" As a way to motivate and inspire myself.

2 Answers 2


There were different age groups and different class and castes of people , who became the followers of Buddha. Buddha’s son Rahula also became his follower and he was I guess around 10 years of age. There were aged people who were on the death bed.They also learned from Buddha. There were kings who revered Buddha. There were fishermen who took his teachings seriously. Both males and females were his followers. Buddha induced the knowledge in them. Buddha lived up to the age of 80 I guess. So , if you take Buddhas teaching seriously then age is no bar. You can achieve significant break through just by believing and understanding him in a very short period of time. If you have no time then you can read Dhamma in brief. That alone is sufficient if you truly understand it.


According to tradition (although possibly their passing is in the Suttas), the Buddha's two chief disciples Sāriputta & Moggallāna passed away at 84 years old. Note: The Buddha passed away at 80 years old. Wikipedia says:

Buddhist texts all state that Śāriputra died shortly before the Buddha, with texts generally indicating he died in his hometown. According to Pāli commentaries, Śāriputra arose from meditation one day and realized through his meditative insight that the chief disciples were supposed to achieve parinirvana before the Buddha, and that he had seven more days to live. Śāriputra then traveled to his hometown to teach his mother, who was yet to be converted to Buddhism. After he converted his mother, Śāriputra died peacefully on the full moon day of Kartika a few months before the Buddha

According to the Pali tradition, Maudgalyāyana's [Moggallāna's] death comes in November of the same year as the Buddha's passing, when Maudgalyāyana is traveling in Magadha. He dies at the age of eighty-four

Since Śāriputta met one of the Buddha's first five arahant disciples (Assaji), I guess Śāriputta & Moggallāna became bhikkhus shortly after the Buddha's full awakening. Therefore they probably attained full awakening at around 40 years old.

Another senior arahant was Maha Kassapa. Wikipedia says Maha Kassapa was much older than the Buddha:

When the Buddha had attained parinirvāṇa (death), and when Mahākāśyapa was reportedly 120 years old

However, the above sounds rather exaggerated, as commented upon:

The commentaries say that Maha Kassapa was 120 years old at the time of the First Council, but as this chronology would mean that he was forty years older than the Buddha and thus already an old man of at least seventy-five when he met the Master, such a statement is hardly acceptable

Hellmuth Hecker

Ananda was said to be the 1st cousin & around the same age as the Buddha therefore must have been around 80 years old when attaining full awakening. Wikipedia says:

Though no Early Buddhist Text provides a date for Ānanda's death, according to the Chinese pilgrim monk Faxian (337–422 CE), Ānanda went on to live 120 years. Following the later timeline, however, Ānanda may have lived to 75–85 years. Buddhist studies scholar L. S. Cousins dated Ānanda's death twenty years after the Buddha's


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