Points of Controversy

17.1. Of an Arahant having Accumulating Merit

Controverted Point: That there is accumulation of merit in the case of an Arahant.

Theravādin: If the Arahant have accumulation of merit, you must allow he may also have accumulation of demerit… . And you must equally allow that he achieves meritorious karma, and karma leading to the imperturbable, that he does actions conducing to this or that destiny, or plane of rebirth, actions conducing to authority, influence, riches, adherents and retainers, celestial or human prosperity… .

You must further admit that, in his karma, he is heaping up or unloading, putting away or grasping, scattering or binding, dispersing or collecting. If he does none of these things, but having unloaded, put away, scattered, dispersed, so abides, your proposition is untenable.

Andhakas: But may not an Arahant give gifts—clothing, alms, food, lodging, medicaments for sickness, food, drink? May he not salute shrines, hang garlands on them, and perfumes and unguents? May he not make consummate oblations before them? You admit this. But these are all merit-accumulating acts… .