Points of Controversy

10.6. Of Two Codes of Morals

Controverted Point: That one who is engaged in the Path is practising a double morality.

Theravādin: You must then be prepared to affirm that he is possessed of his dual morality with a dual mental contact, dual feeling, dual perception, dual volition, dual thought, dual faith, dual energy, dual mindfulness, dual samādhi, dual understanding… . If his moral code be worldly, those processes will be worldly. If his moral code be both, they will be double. The mental contact, the feeling, etc., that he experiences, will be both worldly as well as unworldly or supramundane-which you of course deny… .

And if you say that one actually engaged on the Path is possessed of a worldly code of morals, you are calling such an one in effect an average person or worldling—which you of course refuse to do… .

Your position, you say, is this: (1) one actually engaged on the Path practises a worldly morality in the three factors relating to conduct—right speech, right action, right livelihood-but not in the five factors relating to mental life. (2) In those three factors his morals are both worldly and supramundane, but they are only the latter in the other five factors. My position is that you must affirm one and the same higher morality for all the eight.

Mahāsaṅghikas: Well, but does the Path come to be when worldly morality has ceased?

Theravādin: Yes.

Mahāsaṅghikas: What! can anyone without morals—his virtue defective, imperfect, cut off—develop the Path?

Theravādin: No, that cannot truly be said… .