Points of Controversy

15.3. Of Duration

Controverted Point: That duration is predetermined.

Theravādin: Then must duration be one of the five aggregates, which of course it is not. This holds good whether you take past, future, or present duration. Now, you say that any past aggregate, bodily or mental, constitutes past duration; any future, any present aggregate, future or present duration respectively. Then are there five past durations, five future, five present durations?… fifteen durations in all? Or, if they are regarded as twelve past, future, present organs-and-objects-of-sense, are there thirty-six durations in all?…

Or if we consider them as eighteen elements, are there fifty-four durations? or as controlling powers, are there sixty-six durations?

opponent: But was it not said by the Exalted One:

“There are these three subjects of discourse, bhikkhus—which are the three? One may talk about past time: “Thus was it in times past.” Or about future time: “Thus will it be in future times” Or about the present: “Thus is it now at present.”

Hence surely duration is predetermined?