Buddha Versus the Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas
[From Nagarjuna's explanation of "Bhagavat"]
(T25.70cl- 11 [fasc.2])
Furthermore, Bhaga means "to destory." "Vat" signifies "ability." Because a person such as this is able to destroy desore, aversion, and delusion, he is called "Bhagavat."
Question: Beings such as Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas have also destroyed desire, aversion, and delusion. How is this any different from what the Buddha has done?
Response: Although Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas have destroyed the three poisons, the subtle traces have not been completely eliminated. This is like perfume in a bottle. Although the perfume may be removed, the residual fragrance stubbornly remains.
Again, this circumstance is analogous to burning fuel consisting of grass and wood: Although the fire burns and smoke comes forth, the cinders and ashes are not completely consumed. This is because the intensity of the fire is slight.
In the case of the Buddha, the three poisons have been eternally eliminated without any remaining vestiges. This is just like when, at the end of the kalpa, the fire burns Mount Sumeru and the entire earth: The fire consumes everything and leaves no remaining smoke or cinders.
Examples of this are evident in the residual traces of Shariputra's enmity, the residual traces of Nanda's concupiscence, and the residual traces of Pilindavatsa's arrogance. Such instances are analogous to the gait of people confined in shackles when first they are set free: They still cannot saunter about with agility.
To be continued