Osho on Arhata and Bodhisattva
Osho : The teachings of Gautam Buddha have created two kinds of seekers: one is called Arhata and the other is called Bodhisattva.
The arhata is someone who makes every effort to become enlightened and once he is enlightened he completely forgets about those who are still groping in the dark. He has no concern with others. It is enough for him to become enlightened. In fact, according to the arhatas, even the great idea of compassion is nothing but again another kind of attachment -- and it has some significance to be understood.
Compassion is also a relationship; howsoever beautiful and great, it is also a concern with others. It is also a desire. Although it is a good desire it makes no difference. According to the arhatas, desire is a bondage whether it is good or bad. The chains can be made of gold or of steel, it doesn't matter; chains are chains. Compassion is a golden chain. The arhata insists that nobody can help anybody else at all. The very idea of helping others is based on wrong foundations. You can help only yourself.
It may occur to the ordinary mind that the Arhata is very selfish. But if you look without any prejudice, perhaps he also has something immensely important to declare to the world: Even helping the other is an interference in his life, in his lifestyle, in his destiny, in his future. Hence, arhatas don't believe in any compassion. Compassion to them is another beautiful desire to keep you tethered to the world of attachments. It is another name -- beautiful, but still just a name for a desiring mind.
Why should you be interested that somebody
else becomes enlightened? It is none of your business. Everybody has
absolute freedom to be himself. The Arhata insists on individuality and its
absolute freedom. Even for the sake of good, nobody can be allowed to
interfere in anybody else's life. Hence the moment he becomes enlightened,
the Arhata does not accept disciples, he never preaches, he never helps in
any way. He simply lives in his ecstasy. If somebody on his own can drink
out of his well he will not prevent him, but he will not send an invitation
Buddha accepts and respects the way of the
Arhata -- but he also knows there are people who have immense compassion and
when they become enlightened, their first longing is to share their joy, to
share their truth. Compassion is their way. They also have some profound
truth. These people are called bodhisattvas. They provoke and invite others
to the same experience. And they wait on this shore as long as possible to
help all seekers who are ready to move on the path, and who just need a
guide; they need a helping hand.
And there are bodhisattvas who can tell the boatman, "Wait, there is no hurry. I have lingered on this shore long enough -- in misery, in suffering, in anguish, in agony. Now all that has disappeared. I am in absolute bliss, silence and peace, and I don't see that there is anything more on the other shore. So as long as I can manage, I will be here to help people."
Gautam Buddha is certainly one of those people who can see the truth even in contradictions. He accepts both without making anybody feel lower or higher. But bodhisattvas call their path -- against the path of the arhatas -- Mahayana, "the great vehicle," the great ship. The other is just a small boat. Poor fellows, they simply go alone. And there has been a continuous conflict for twenty-five centuries after Gautam Buddha, between these two different approaches.
Source: " Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master " - Osho
Gautam Buddha Disciple Ananda