Points of Controversy

13.8. Of Lust for the Unpleasant

Controverted Point: That there is such a thing as lusting for what is disagreeable.

Theravādin: Do you go so far as to maintain that of the beings who delight in the painful, some wish for it, long for it, seek, search, hunt for it, and persist in cleaving to it? Is not rather the opposite your genuine belief? You assent. Then how do you maintain your proposition?

Can anyone have at once a latent bias of lust for painful feeling and a latent bias of aversion from pleasant feeling? Will not these two forms of bias be really directed inversely, the former craving pleasure, the latter hating pain?

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

“He, thus, expert in complacency and antipathy, delights in and commends whatsoever feeling he feels, pleasant, painful, or neutral, and persists in cleaving to it.”

Hence surely there is such a thing as lusting for the unpleasant?