Points of Controversy

17.2. Of Arahants and Untimely Death

Controverted Point: That an Arahant cannot have an untimely death.

Theravādin: Then are there no murderers of Arahants? You admit there are. Now when anyone takes the life of an Arahant, does he take away the remainder of life from a living man, or from one who is not living? If the former, then you cannot maintain your proposition. If the latter, there is no murder, and your admission is wrong.

Again, you admit that poison, weapons, or fire may get access to the body of an Arahant. It is therefore clear that an Arahant may suffer sudden death. But if you deny, then there can be no murderer.

Rājagirikas and Siddhatthikas: But was it not said by the Exalted One:

“I declare, bhikkhus, that there cannot be destruction of karmic energy ere the outcome of deeds that have been deliberately tor ought and conserved has been experienced, whether that destruction be under present conditions, or in the next or in a subsequent series of conditions.”

Hence there is no untimely dying for an Arahant.