Points of Controversy

18.5. Of a One and Only Path

Controverted Point: That the fourfold fruition of the religious life is realized by one path only.

Theravādin: This implies a fusion of the four distinct conscious procedures experienced in each stage of progress, which you deny.

Moreover, if there be one path only, which of the four is it?

Andhakas and Uttarapāthakas: The path of Arahantship.

Theravādin: But do we teach that by that path the three first of the ten Fetters are removed—to wit, theory of soul, doubt, and infection of mere rule and ritual? Did not the Exalted One say that these are removed by the Stream-Winning Path?

And are gross passions and malevolence removed by the path of Arahantship? Did not the Exalted One say that the fruit of the Once-Returner was the state of having reduced these to a minimum? And is it by the path of Arahantship that that minimum is removed? You know it is not. If you assent, I can refer you to the words of the Exalted One, who said that the fruit of the Never-Returner was the state of having removed that minimum without remainder.

Andhakas and Uttarapāthakas: But if we are wrong, and the Exalted One developed each Path in succession, can he be called Stream- Winner and so on? You deny, but you have implied it.

Theravādin: But if the Exalted One realized these four fruits of the religious life by one Ariyan Path only, and the disciples by four Paths, they have seen what he did not see, they arrive, at where he did not arrive, they realize that which he did not reaIize. You cannot admit this…