Points of Controversy

15.10. Of Cessation as a Means of reaching the Unconscious Sphere

Controverted Point: That the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling conduces to rebirth in the unconscious sphere.

Theravādin: Can you say of anyone who has attained to the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling that in his character are the three moral conditions—absence of greed, of hate, of delusion, also faith, energy, mindfulness, samādhi, and understanding? Is not the contrary usually the case?…

You admit of course that one in the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling is without mental reaction, feeling, perception, volition, cognition? But you cannot maintain that a Path can be practised in the absence of these.

Finally, your proposition implies that all who attain to the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling are tending to rebirth in the Unconscious Sphere—which you must deny… .

Hetuvādins: But you admit, anyway, that in the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling one is unconscious, and in that sphere one is unconscious. Hence I maintain that this tendency is a fact.