Points of Controversy

14.2. Of the Development of Sense-Organs

Controverted Point: That the sense-mechanism starts all at once to life in the womb.

Theravādin: Do you imply that the sense-mechanism enters the womb with all its main and minor parts complete, not deficient in any organ? You deny… Then let us speak more in detail: You admit that the organ of sight starts by consciousness seeking rebirth? Now, you would not claim, for that questing consciousness that at its taking effect hands, feet, head, ears, nostrils, mouth and teeth take their start? Why claim an exception in the case of the visual, or other sense-organs?

Pubbaseliyas and Aparaseliyas: Then you claim that four of the senseorgans—eye, ear, smell, taste—come later into being. Are you implying that, to bring this about, one makes karma in the mother “s womb? You deny, but your position implies it.

Theravādin: But you say, do you not, that in the embryo hair, down, nails, teeth, bones, appear at a subsequent stage. Do you imply a special embryonic karma done to bring these to birth? You deny. Then why assail my position? Or it may be you do not admit the subsequent appearance of hair, etc.? But was it not said by the Exalted One:

“At first the kalala takes birth, and then
The abbuda. Therefrom the pesi grows,
Developing as ghana in its turn.
Now in the ghana appears the hair,
The down, the nails. And whatsoever food
And drink the mother of him takes,
thereby the man in mother’s womb does live and grow.”

Hence it is right to assign a later appearance to hair, and so forth.