Points of Controversy

10.11. Of Non-Intimation as Immoral

Controverted Point: That acts not intimating a moral purpose are immoral

Theravādin: But the conduct that is immoral—taking life, theft, fornication, lying, intemperance—do you affirm that these are so many modes of non-intimation? You deny. (Then they are intimative, and some immoral acts are therefore intimative of moral purpose.)

If anyone giving in charity has resolved on some evil deed, do his merit and his demerit both grow thereby? If you assent, you are involved in two sets of mental procedure. And if you assent to this anomaly, you have good and bad, low and excellent, sinister and radiant states of mind simultaneously present, when, in fact, as the Exalted One said, they are as far apart as earth and sky, etc.

Similarly for all courtesies shown by one who has resolved on some evil deed.

Mahāsaṅghikas: But an evil deed, you admit, had been resolved upon, hence it is right to say that acts non-intimative of a moral thought behind them are immoral.