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The Sanskrit word shravaka, means 'one who hears and proclaims'. There are two explanations for this:
- The first explanation is that the shravakas first hear the instructions from the Buddha on teachings such as the four noble truths or the twelve links of interdependent origination, and then through reflecting and meditating on these instructions they attain their fruition of arhathood. Once they attain this fruition, they proclaim this to others by saying things such as "What was to be done has been done! I will know no further existences!".
- The second is that the shravakas receive or hear teachings on the mahayana from the Buddha, and although they do not practise them themselves, they retain them with their infallible memories. Then, when they meet those they consider to be suitable vessels for the mahayana, they proclaim the teachings which they have memorized.
- Auditor (D. Seyfort Ruegg)
- Disciple (Geshe Thupten Jinpa)
- Pious Attendant
- Alex Trisoglio (ed.), Introduction to the Middle Way: Chandrakirti’s Madhyamakavatara with commentary by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, Khyentse Foundation, 2003