Points of Controversy

12.1. Of Self Restraint.

Controverted Point: That self-restraint is positive action (karma).

Theravādin: If this be so, you imply that ocular self-restraint is moral action of the eye; so for the other senses—you cannot admit this… . But as to self-restraint, involved in sense-control of body and in control of mind, you at first deny it to be moral action, and then assent to the proposition that it is moral action. Why then do you not concede this for the remaining four senses? That which you admit as true for mind, the co-ordinator of sense, you must admit as true no less for the five senses.

Want of self-restraint you admit of course is immoral action (karma): is it eye-karma when self-restraint is not practised by the controlling power of sight?… proceed as in Kv12.1.1: .

Mahāsaṅghikas: But if I am wrong, was it not said by the Exalted One:

“Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu, when he sees an object with the eye, grasps at the general characters thereof, … ”

And again:

“… does not grasp at the external appearance, … when he hears a sound, … cognizes a thing with the mind, … does not grasp, etc.”

Surely both self-restraint and want of it are herein shown to be morally effective action?