Points of Controversy

15.9. Of Cessation of Perception and Feeling

Controverted Point: That a person may die while in the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling.

Theravādin: You must, then, admit that, while in that state, he has all the mental symptoms betokening death—to wit, in mental contact, feeling, perception, volition, consciousness. But you agree that all moribund mental symptoms are absent. Hence your proposition falls through.

You will further agree with this: not only that for one in the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling. is all mental life in abeyance, but also that death is accompanied by contactual, emotional, volitional, and cognitive symptoms.

Moreover, can poison, weapons, or fire affect the body of one in the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling? You deny. You assert, on the contrary, that those causes of death cannot affect him. Then, can you maintain your proposition?

Or do you now maintain that poison, weapons, or fire can affect his body? Then, is his attainment not genuine?…

Rājagirikas: But in opposing my proposition you imply that there must be some principle of certainty (or uniformity) by which one is assured of not dying while in the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling. If you say that such an assurance does not exist, your proposition cannot stand.

Theravādin: But one who is enjoying visual consciousness is not dying, even though there be no uniform principle of certainty by which he is assured of being kept from death. Hence I assert as much of one who is in the attainment of the cessation of perception and feeling.