Points of Controversy

2.1. Of Conveyance by Another

Controverted Point: That an Arahant has impure discharge.

Theravādin: You contend that he may have. Yet you deny that in the Arahant there remains any lust, sensuous desires or assailing passion, any “fetter,” “flood,” “bond,” or “hindrance of sensuality.” But this denial commits you to negate your proposition.

You admit that the average worldling may have both the one and the other, both the desires and the physical result. But then you must also admit both as true in the case of the Arahant.

What is the cause of that physical impurity which you impute to the Arahant?

Pubbaseliyas and Aparaseliyas: The devas of the Māra group convey it to the Arahant.

Theravādin: Have then these devas themselves that physical impurity?

Pubbaseliyas and Aparaseliyas: No, in them it is non-existent.

Theravādin: Then you should not say that they convey it to the Arahant. From whom do they convey it? Not, you affirm, from their own bodies, nor from the Arahant himself, nor from other beings which is absurd. You deny also that they effect the conveyance through the pores of the body. Then you should also deny that they convey it at all. What do you allege is the reason of their conveying it?

Pubbaseliyas and Aparaseliyas: Their idea is: “we shall cause doubt as to his attainment to be laid hold of.”

Theravādin: Is there doubt in an Arahant? If you reply “No,” then your argument falls through. Or if you reply “Yes,” then must you herein admit that an Arahant may hold doubts about the Teacher, the Doctrine, the Saṅgha, the ethical training, the beginning and end of time—either or both—and about things as happening through assignable causes—which is absurd. The average man holds doubts about such things, but an Arahant does not else is he like the average man. Or if both hold doubts not on any of these eight points, but on other matters,then again the Arahant is no better than the average man.

Granting your proposition, to what is the impurity due? You reply, to eating, drinking, chewing, tasting. But you deny that the proposition is true of all who eat, drink, chew, taste. Or, if you maintain the opposite conclusion, you must admit that children, eunuchs, devas eat, drink, etc., yet that the proposition is not true in their case. Nor can you refer to any specific repository for that impurity which you call a result of eating, drinking, etc., similar to that which is provided for the natural results of eating, drinking, etc.

If your proposition were true, then the Arahant would pursue and produce things relating to sexual intercourse, live a family life, use Kāsī sandalwood preparations, adorn himself with wreaths, perfumes, and cosmetics, hoard gold and silver, like any average man, concerning whom your proposition were true. But how can it be true of the Arahant who, as you admit, has put away passion, has cut it off at the root, and made it as the stump of a palm tree, made it incapable of rising up again in future renewal?—of the Arahant who has treated in like manner hate, ignorance, conceit, error, doubt, sloth, distraction, impudence, and indiscretion?

How, again, should it be true of one who, like the Arahant, has cultivated the means for the putting away of passion, etc., and all the other factors of enlightenment.

How should it be true of one who, like the Arahant, has consummated as having done with lust, done with hate, done with delusion, by whom that which was to be done is done, by whom the burden is laid down, by whom the good supreme is won, and the fetter of becoming is wholly broken away, who is emancipated through perfect knowledge, who has lifted the bar, has filled up the trenches, is a drawer-out, is without lock or bolt, an Ariyan, of one for whom the banner is lowered, the burden is fallen, who is detached, conqueror of a realm well-conquered, who has comprehended Suffering, has put away the cause thereof, has realized the cessation thereof, has cultivated the Path thereto, who has understood that which is to be understood, comprehended that which is to be comprehended, put away that which is to be put away, developed that which is to be developed, realized that which is to be realized?

Do you still maintain your proposition?

Pubbaseliyas and Aparaseliyas: Yes, but only in the case of an Arahant who is proficient in his own field, not of an Arahant who is proficient in other things.

Theravādin: But how can you maintain it in the one case without admitting it as true in the other? The former has the qualities and requisites of Arahantship no less than the other; both have equally put away passion, and so on.

How can you maintain your proposition when you admit that there is a Suttanta in which the Exalted One said:

Bhikkhus! those bhikkhus who are but average men, yet are proficient in virtue and are mindful and reflective, can go to sleep without impure discharge. Those Rishis who are outsiders, yet are devoid of passion in matters of sense, have also no impure discharge. That an Arahant should have impure discharge is anomalous and unnatural?

Pubbaseliyas and Aparaseliyas: Is the proposition untrue?

Theravādin: Yes.

Pubbaseliyas and Aparaseliyas: But if you admit that others may convey to the Arahant clothing, alms, bedding, or medicine, surely my proposition as involving conveyance of something by another is tenable?

Theravādin: But is everything beyond those four requisite’s. conveyable? Could others convey to the Arahant the fruition of Stream-Winning, of Once-Returning, of Never-Returning, or of Arahanship? No? Then your argument cannot hold.