Rakan " literally means "worthy one" (an alternative etymology is "foe-destroyer") and constitutes the highest grade of noble person- ariya-puggala -described by the Buddha as recorded in the Pali canon. The word was used (as it is today in the liturgy of Theravada Buddhism) as an epithet of the Buddha himself as well as of his enlightened disciples. The most widely recited liturgical reference is perhaps the homage: Namo Tassa Bhagavato, Arahato, Samma-sammbuddhassa.-Homage to him, the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the perfectly enlightened Buddha. In China and Japan, people called 16 pupils who promised to defend and maintain the teachings of Buddhism with "Sixteen Disciples of Buddha" and admired them.
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