Points of Controversy

17.5. Of “save only the Ariyan Path”

Controverted Point: That save only the Ariyan Path, all other conditioned things may be called “Suffering”

Theravādin: Then you call the Cause of Suffering also Suffering? If you deny, you cannot maintain your proposition. If you assent, do you mean that there are but three Truths? If you deny, your proposition falls. If you assent, do you not contradict the words of the Exalted One, that the Truths are four—Suffering, Cause of Suffering, Cessation of Suffering, Way going to the Cessation of Suffering?

If now you admit that the Cause of Suffering is also Suffering, in what sense do you judge it to be so?

Hetuvādins: In the sense of impermanence.

Theravādin: But the Ariyan Path, is that impermanent?

Hetuvādins: Yes.

Theravādin: Then is not that also Suffering?…

You say then that the Path is impermanent but not Suffering, while the Cause of Suffering is both impermanent and Suffering. It is impossible for you to maintain such a position… .

Hetuvādins: But if the Path be “a way going to the cessation of Suffering,” I maintain that, when we speak of all other conditioned things as Suffering, this Ariyan Path is excepted.