The terms Buddha, Bodhisattva, Wisdom King, and Arhat refer to distinct spiritual beings or stages of attainment within Buddhism. Here's a brief explanation of each term:
1. Buddha: A Buddha is an awakened or enlightened being who has realized the ultimate truth and has overcome all defilements and ignorance. They have attained perfect enlightenment through their own efforts and are regarded as fully awakened to the nature of reality. The historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, is one such example.
2. Bodhisattva: A Bodhisattva is an individual who is on the path to enlightenment and compassionately works for the liberation and welfare of all sentient beings. Bodhisattvas, motivated by compassion, choose to postpone their own complete enlightenment in order to help others reach awakening. They embody the ideal of selflessness and strive to alleviate suffering in the world.
3. Wisdom King: Wisdom Kings, also known as Myō-ō in Japanese or Vidyaraja in Sanskrit, are fierce and powerful deities within Vajrayana traditions. They are often depicted as wrathful manifestations of awakened wisdom, wielding symbolic weapons and displaying intense energy. Wisdom Kings are seen as protectors of Buddhist teachings and practitioners, helping to dispel ignorance and obstacles on the path to enlightenment.
4. Arhat: An Arhat, also known as an Arahant, is an individual who has achieved liberation from the cycle of birth and death by attaining enlightenment. Arhats have eradicated all defilements and have realized the truth of impermanence, suffering, and non-self. They are considered saints or perfected beings who have achieved the ultimate goal of Buddhism.
These terms represent different stages, paths, or spiritual attainments within Buddhism, each with its own characteristics and significance.