Points of Controversy

19.5. Of “Thusness.”

Controverted Point: That the fundamental characteristics of all things (sabba-dhamma) are unconditioned.

Theravādin: Do you then identify those fundamental characteristics or “thusness” with Nibbāna, the Shelter… 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 there two kinds of Shelters and so on? And is there a boundary or… interstice between them?

Again, assuming a materiality (rūpatā) of matter or body, is not materiality unconditioned? You assent. Then I raise the same difficulties as before.

I raise them, too, if you admit a “hedonality” of feeling, a “perceivability” of perception, a saṅkhāratā or co-efficiency of mental co-efficients, a consciousness of being conscious. If all these be unconditioned, are there then six categories of “unconditioneds”?

Uttarapāthakas: But if I am wrong, is the “thusness “of all things the five aggregates taken together?

Theravādin: Yes.

Uttarapāthakas: Then that “thusness” of all things is unconditioned.