Points of Controversy

1.4. Of Purification Piecemeal

Controverted Point: That the converted man gives up the corruptions piecemeal.

Theravādin: You affirm this because, you say, when a person who has worked to realize the fruit of the First Path (Stream-Winning) wins insight into the nature of Suffering and its cause, he gives up these three of the ten fetters—theory of a self, doubt, and the misapprehension of behaviour and vows—and the corruptions involved in these, in part; further, that when such a person wins insight into the cessation of Suffering, he gives up the latter two of those fetters and the corruptions involved in them, in part; further, that when such a person wins insight into the Path leading to that cessation, he gives up those corruptions involved, in part.

But then you should also admit—what you deny—that one part of him is Stream-Winner, one part is not; that he attains, obtains, reaches up to, lives in the realization of, enters into personal contact with the fruition of Stream-Winning with one part of him, and not with the other part of him; that with one part only of him has he earned the destiny of but seven more rebirths, or the destiny to be well reborn only twice or thrice, as man or deva, or the destiny of but one more rebirth; that in one part of him only is he filled with faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Saṅgha; that with one part only of him is he filled with virtues dear to Ariyans.

Again, you say, that when a person who has worked to realize the fruition of the Once-Returner, wins insight into the nature of Suffering and its cause, he gives up gross sensuous passions, the coarser forms of ill-will, and the corruptions involved in these, in part; further, that when such a person wins insight into the cessation of Suffering, he gives up the coarser forms of ill-will and the corruptions involved therewith, in part; further, that when such a person wins insight into the Path leading to the cessation of Suffering, he gives up the corruptions referred to.

But then you should also admit—which you deny—that one part of him is Once-Returner, one part is not; that he attains, obtains, reaches up to, lives in the realization of, enters into personal contact with the fruition of the Once-Returner, with one part of him and not with the other part.

Again, you say, that when a person who has worked to realize the fruition of the Never-Returner, wins insight into the nature of Suffering and its cause, he gives up the little residuum of sensuous passion, the little residuum of ill-will and the corruptions involved therewith, in part; further, that when such a person wins insight into the cessation of Suffering, he gives up the little residuum of ill-will and the corruptions involved therewith, in part; further, that when he wins insight into the path leading to the cessation of Suffering, he gives up the corruptions aforenamed in part.

But then you must also admit—which you deny—that one part of him is Never-Returner, one part is not; that he attains, obtains, reaches up to, lives in the realization of, enters into personal contact with the fruition of the Never- Returner with one part of him, and not with the other part of him; that with one part of him only does he complete existence within the term between birth and middle life, or within the term between middle life and death, or without external instigation, or with it; that with one part of him only does he become “an upstreamer,” bound for the senior deva-world, and not with the other part of him.

Again, you say that when a person who has worked to realize Arahantship wins insight into the nature of Suffering and its cause, he gives up the lust of life with material quality, the lust of life of immaterial quality, conceit, distraction, ignorance, and the corruptions involved therein, in part; further, that when such an one wins insight into the cessation of Suffering, he gives up the last three of those fetters and the corruptions involved therein, in part; further, that when he wins insight into the path leading to the cessation of Suffering, he gives up the last two of those fetters—distraction and ignorance—and the corruptions involved in them, in part.

But then you must also admit—what you deny—that one part of him is Arahant, and one part is not; that he attains to, obtains, reaches up to, lives in the realization of, enters into personal contact with Arahantship with one part of him, and not with the other part of him; that with one part only has he done with passions, hate, delusion; that with one part only has he “done that which was to be done,” “got rid of the burden,” “won the good supreme,” “wholly destroyed the fetter of becoming,” with one part only is he emancipated by perfect knowledge, is “one for whom the bar is thrown up,” “the trenches are filled,” “one who has drawn out,” “for whom there is no lock or bolt,” with one part only is he Ariyan, with lowered banner,” “with burden fallen,” “detached,” “conqueror of a realm well conquered,” with one part only has he understood Suffering, put away its cause, realized its cessation, practised the path, comprehended that which is to be comprehended, learnt that which should be learnt, put away that which is to be eliminated, developed that which is to be developed, realized that which may be realized, and not any of this with the other part.

Sammitīya: But if it be wrong to deny that my thesis is true, why did the Exalted One say thus:

“Little by little, one by one, as pass
The moments, gradually let the wise,
Like smith the blemishes of silver, blow
The specks that mar his purity away.”

Is the Suttanta thus? Does this not justify my answering “Yes”?

Theravādin: But was it not said by the Exalted One:

“Together with attainment of vision,
Three things are abandoned:
Identity view, doubt
And misapprehension of behaviour and vows—if any remain.
Such a one is released from the fourfold doom,
And they cannot do any of the six heinous deeds.”

Is the Suttanta thus?

Again, was it not said by the Exalted One:

“Whenever, O bhikkhus, for the Ariyan disciple there doth arise the stainless, flawless Eye of the Dhamma—that whatsoever by its nature may happen, may also by its nature cease—then with the arising of that vision doth he put away these three fetters: identity view, doubt, and the misapprehension of behaviour and vows.”

Is the Suttanta thus? Hence it must not be said that the religious man gives up the corruptions piecemeal.