Points of Controversy

13.1. Of Age-Long Penalty

Controverted Point: That one doomed to age-long retribution must endure it for a whole aeon.

Theravādin: But this implies that the cycle may start when a Buddha is born into the world, or when the Saṅgha is dissolved, or when the condemned person is committing the act incurring the penalty, or when he is dying… .

It also implies that if he live for a past aeon, he may live for a future one—nay, for two, three, or four… .

And if during his aeon there be a cosmic conflagration, whither will he go?

Rājagirikas: To another plane of the universe.

Theravādin: Do the dead go thither? Do they go to the sky?

Rājagirikas: The dead go.

Theravādin: Can the act involving the penalty take effect in a subsequent life? You must deny… . Hence he must go to the sky. This implies that he has Psychic Power— else he could not. Now can one doomed to age-long retribution practise the four steps to Psychic Power—will, effort, thought, investigation?…

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

“Doomed to the downfall, to hell for an aeon
Is the one who causes a schism in the Saṅgha.
Attached to division, intent on the unrighteous,
One falls away from the security from bondage.
Having split a Saṅgha in harmony,
One burns in hell for an aeon.”

Hence my proposition is true.