You Name It, I Have It!


The Nine Qualities of Buddha

July 20th, 2013

Introduction – Many times and many days we have chanted the nine qualities of Buddha in PALI and never make an effort to understand its meaning. Now, I will like share the meaning of the nine qualities of Buddha in English.

One common example is the word in Pali – Araham – that we use to count our rosary (prayer beads). We should now know the meaning of the word – Araham. One who has eradicated the defilements. By reflecting on the quality of Buddha “Araham” we gain great merit.

The second example is – Buddho – When the word – Buddo is repeated continuously, one could gain the miracle of acquiring Magadha, Pali, and other ancient dialects. Some who has the parami should try this when praying. The dialect could come to your lips automatically. Itipi so Bhagava Araham, Samma-Sambuddho, Vijja-Carana Sampano, Sugato, Lokavidu, Anuttaro Purisa Dhamma Sarathi, Sattha Deva-Manussanam, Buddho, Bhagava.

There are altogether nine important qualities of the Buddha. In Pali, the nine qualities are:

  1. araham,
  2. samma-sambuddho,
  3. vijjacarana-sampanno,
  4. sugato,
  5. lokavidu,
  6. anuttaro-purisa-dhammasarathi,
  7. sattha-deva-manussanam,
  8. buddho and
  9. bhagava.

The qualities of the Buddha are infinite and all those infinite qualities are included in these nine.

The Nine Qualities of Buddha


Araham means that the Buddha had eradicated all the defilements. Defilement in plain language means bad thoughts, bad reactions like anger, anxiety, hatred, frustration, stress, depression, ignorance, jealousy, gossip, attachment, dogmatism and so on; the Buddha had got rid of all these. The Buddha inspires us with His qualities. Because He had got rid of all defilement, He is Araham. While repeating the word Araham, you go on reflecting at the same time comparing the quality. The rosary is only an instrument to help you concentrate. The word Arahant and Arahat come from the same etymological background. and have the same meaning with Araham.


This means to discover and understand fully, the Four Noble Truths, without any aid from a teacher. The Four Noble Truths that we have read about, heard about, thought about — we still have difficulty in understanding them fully.


Vijja-Carana-Sampano is knowledge and conduct, or theory and practice; the Buddha is endowed with both. He says as He acts and He does what He says. When you see things like this, you realize how great is the quality of Vijja-Carana-Sampano the Buddha posses, and how valuable are all His qualities. Some people know the theory but do not practice it.


Sugato is a great speaker, who is adept in the art of choosing the right words, saying them at the right time, and in such a way as will benefit the listener. The Buddha was a master of that. Another meaning of Sugato is that the Buddha walks the best path to reach His goal — the path leading to freedom from suffering (dukkha). When He meditates and a pain arises, He observes the pain without increasing dukkha, whereas the majority of people personalize pain or suffering and misperceives it through attachment and pride (mana). The Buddha avoided this path of misconstruing things and followed the right path. He had chosen to deal with things in the right way that freed Him from suffering. The Buddha, being a Sugata, walked the path of freedom and freed Himself from mental suffering.


Lokavidu is the person who knows about the world. What do we mean by Loka? As There are six worlds; the seeing world, the hearing world, the smelling world, the tasting world, the touching world and the thinking world. There are no other worlds than these six. The Buddha understands how they arise and cease. He knows how clashes and harmony happen in this world. He knows why people can be trapped in them or be free from them. That is why He is called Lokavidu. You are in harmony with the world only when you know about it and live accordingly accepting as it is.


Anuttaro Purisa Dhamma-Sarathi means that the Buddha is the best teacher who can bring the wayward back into the fold. The Buddha can make people understand with either just one sentence or a whole series of talks, like the time He gave His first sermon to the five ascetics, which took five whole days. We should reflect on this quality of the Buddha whenever we experience problems in teaching or explaining things to children. How capable the Buddha is in these things!


Satta Deva-Manussanam — the teacher and leader of devas and men. Let alone knowing more than the Buddha or even knowing as much as the Buddha did, we struggle to understand even a tiny bit of what He has said in His sermons and this is in spite of having many learned monks teaching us. He was the Satta Deva Manussanam. There were many that became the Buddha’s followers. Even after He passed away, there are many like us who regard the Buddha as their teacher and leader.


Buddho is the person who knows the Four Noble Truths. This is similar to Samma Sambuddho, which emphasizes the fact that the Buddha discovered the Four Noble Truths by Himself. Buddho just emphasizes the fact that he knows it well. He was the Awakened One, who had awakened from ignorance and delusion.


Bhagava is the person endowed with special powers. The merits the Buddha had accumulated are much more than others and this is also why He was called Bhagava. The merits are acts of sharing, ethical morality, patience, renunciation, wisdom, diligence, truthfulness, determination, loving –kindness and equanimity. He perfected these to the most difficult and advanced level. He shared not only material things in His past lives but also His limbs and life.



You Name It, I Have It!