Points of Controversy

19.3. Of the Fruits of Life in Religion

Controverted Point: That the fruit of recluseship is unconditioned.

Theravādin: Do you then identify that “fruit” with Nibbāna: the Shelter, the Cave, the Refuge, the Goal, the Undying, the Deathless? Or are there two “unconditioneds”? You deny both alternatives but you must assent to one or the other. If to the latter, I ask are they both… Nibbānas, and is there one higher than the other, … or is there a boundary… an interstice between them?

Again, do you imply that recluseship itself is unconditioned? “No, conditioned,” you say. Then is its fruit or reward conditioned?…

You admit, again, that the four stages in the recluse’s Ariyan Path—the Four Paths—are conditioned. Yet you would deny that the Four Fruits are conditioned!

In fact, you would have in these four and Nibbāna five “unconditioneds.” Or if you identify the four with Nibbāna, you then get five sorts of Nibbāna, five Shelters, and so on… .