Is there a will during the nibbana with residue?


Can the arhat have a will (for example a will to help others to suffer less)?
I ask myself this question because I am not sure to understand what is the nibbana with residue.
Is nibbana with residue the end of absolutely ALL desires (including the desire for compassion, or the desire for food), or only the end of attachment desires (like the desire for possession, power, ego etc.)?


May all beings be liberated.

Nibbāna with residue simply means the Arahant is still alive and life faculty continues.

Nibbāna without residue means the Arahant attained Parinibbana (passed away and there is no more becoming of future births and sufferings).

So is there a will? If your definition of “will” means “volition” or “intention”, then the answer is “Yes”.

Arahants will help people. But depends on many factors: whether the time is suitable, kammic/Vipaka force, opportunity arises or not, etc.

For examples,

Arahant Sariputta Thera helping newly ordained monks to attain Sotapannahood by actively teaching them. (As indicated in Saccavibhangasutta)

Arahant Mahakassapa Thera intended to let poor people to perform Dana to him after he emerged from Nirodha Samapatti, so that the poor people can gain enormous merits that can bring wealth. (As in Dhammapada Atthakatha)

Lord Buddha saving Sopaka the young boy who was trapped in cemetery along with dead corpse. Lord Buddha also protected the Sakya Clan three times from being massacre by King Vidudabha. (Buddha’s life event)


Wow thank you for this extremely clear answer, you have helped me a lot. I was actually hearing “will” as “intention”.

But can an arahant still have the desire to feed? And if an arahant has a desire to feed, is that desire just an “intention”?

They are two different thing.

If you take “Desire” as a form of greed, then the answer is “No”. The Arahants don’t have Greed.

But if you define “Desire” as merely volition, like going to toilet for urinate, eating food, want to clean up the place, then the answer is “Yes”.

Once again, thank you for your clarity and quick response.

Arahants “do” things because it is functional kiriya. Their cittas do not produce new kamma.