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Translations of
(IAST: Anāgāmin)
Chinese不還 or 阿那含
(Pinyin: bùhuán or Ānàhán)
Japanese不還 or 阿那含
(Rōmaji: fugen or anagon)
Korean불환 or 아나함
(RR: bulhwan or anaham)
Wylie: phyir mi 'ong ba
THL: chir mi ongwa
(RTGS: anakhami)
VietnameseBất hoàn or A-na-hàm
Glossary of Buddhism

In Buddhism, an anāgāmin (Sanskrit; Pāli: anāgāmī, lit. "non-returning")[1] is a partially enlightened person who has cut off the first five fetters that bind the ordinary mind. Anāgāmins are the third of the four aspirants.

The anāgāmin is not reborn into the human world after death, but into the heaven of the Pure Abodes, where only anāgāmins reside. There they attain full enlightenment (arahantship).

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Requisites for becoming an anāgāmin

An anāgāmin is free from the lowest five chains or fetters (Sanskrit: pañcāvarabhāgīya-saṃyojana; Pali: pañcorambhāgiyāni-saṃyojanāni; 五下分結) which are as follows:

  1. Belief in ātman or self (Sanskrit: satkāya-dṛṣṭi or svakāya-dṛṣṭi; Pāli: sakkāya-diṭṭhi; 有身見)
  2. Attachment to rites and rituals (Sanskrit: śīlavrata-parāmarśa-dṛṣṭi; Pāli: sīlabbata-parāmāsa-diṭṭhi; 戒禁取見)
  3. Skeptical doubt (Sanskrit: vicikitsā; Pali: vicikicchā; 疑)
  4. Sensuous craving (kāmarāga; 欲貪)
  5. Ill will or aversion (vyāpāda or byāpāda; 瞋恚)[2]

The remaining five higher fetters (Sanskrit: pañca-ūrdhvabhāgiya-saṃyojana; Pali: pañcuddhambhāgiyāni-saṃyojanāni; 五上分結) from which an anāgāmin is not yet free are:

  1. Craving for fine-material existence (the first 4 jhanas) (rūparāga; 色貪)
  2. Craving for immaterial existence (the last 4 jhanas) (arūparāga; 無色貪)
  3. Conceit or pride (māna; 慢)
  4. Restlessness (Sanskrit: auddhatya; Pali: uddhacca; 掉挙)
  5. Ignorance (Sanskrit: avidyā; Pali: avijjā; 無明)

Kāmarāga and vyāpāda, which they are free from, can also be interpreted as craving for becoming and non-becoming, respectively.

Anāgāmins are at an intermediate stage between the sakṛdāgāmin and the arhat. An arhat enjoys complete freedom from the ten fetters, while an anāgāmin's mind remains very pure.

Five types of anāgāmin

The Pali Puggalapannatti and the Sanskrit texts Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra and the Sarvāstivādin-Vaibhaṣika Abhidharma both describe five classes of anāgāmin. When an anāgāmin is reborn in the Pure Abodes, one of the five following scenarios will occur:[3][4]

  1. He will attain arhatship immediately after rebirth or within the first half of his life in the Pure Abodes. Such a being is called "one who reaches Nibbāna within the first half of the life" (Sanskrit: antarāparinirvāyin; Pali: antarā-parinibbāyī).
  2. He will attain arhatship within the latter half of his life in the Pure Abodes or at the moment of death. Such a being is called "one who reaches Nibbāna after crossing half the life-time" (Sanskrit: upapadyaparinirvāyin; Pali: upahacca-parinibbāyī).
  3. He exerts himself to the point of attaining arhatship. Such a being is called "one who reaches Nibbāna with exertion" (Sanskrit: sābhisaṃskāraparinirvāyin; Pali: sasankhāra-parinibbāyī).
  4. He does not exert himself, yet attains arhatship. Such a being is called "one who reaches Nibbāna without exertion" (Sanskrit: anabhisaṃskāraparinirvāyin; Pali: asankhāra-parinibbāyī).
  5. He traverses the five heavens of the Pure Abodes in order from lowest to highest before attaining arhatship. Such a being is called "one who passes up-stream to the highest gods" (Sanskrit: ūrdhvasrotas; Pali: uddhamsota-akanittha-gāmī)."

Anāgāmins in literature

Several figures who appear in the literature achieve the state of an anāgāmin. Some of these people include:

  • The Brahmin Bāvarī
  • The householder Uggata[5]
  • The wandering ascetic Subhadda
  • The monk Pukkusāti
  • The nun Nandā[6]
  • The laywoman Matikamata
  • The layman Citta
  • The layman Visākha[7]
  • The householder Sandhāna
  • The Brahman Uṇṇābha
  • Ghatikara the Potter,[8] a lay follower of the Kāśyapa Buddha[9]

See also


  1. ^ Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), pp. 31, 95, entries for "Anāgāmin" (retrieved 17 November 2018 at and "Āgāmin" (at
  2. ^ "Byāpāda". Pali Text Society Pali-English Dictionary. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  3. ^ "Anagamin, aka: Anāgāmin, Anāgamin; 4 Definition(s)". Wisdom Library. 2019-08-24. Retrieved 2019-10-25.
  4. ^ "Anāgāmī". Buddhist Dictionary of Pali Proper Names. Retrieved 2019-10-25.
  5. ^ Buswell, Robert E. Jr.; Lopez, Donald S. Jr. (2013). The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9781400848058.
  6. ^ Mingun Sayadaw (1990). "40". The Great Chronicle of Buddhas. Myanmar: Tipitaka Nikaya Sasana Organization.
  7. ^ Tin, Daw Mya (2019). The Dhammapada: Verses & Stories. Pariyatti Publishing. ISBN 9781681721200.
  8. ^ "MN 81 Ghatikara Sutta: Ghatikara the Potter".
  9. ^ Karashima, Seishi; Vorobyova-Desyatovskaya, Margarita I., eds. (2015). "The Avadāna Anthology from Merv, Turkmenistan" (PDF). Buddhist Manuscripts from Central Asia: The St. Petersburg Sanskrit Fragments (STPSF). Tokyo: The Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences; The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology; Soka University. 1. Retrieved 2019-10-25.


This page was last edited on 7 March 2023, at 08:39
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