Points of Controversy

23.3. Of Self-governed Destiny

Controverted Point: That a Bodhisatta (or future Buddha) (a), goes to an evil doom, (b) enters a womb, (c) performs hard tasks, (d) works penance under alien teachers of his own accord and free will.

(a) Theravādin: Do you mean that he so went and endured purgatory, the Sañjīva, Kālasutta, Tāpana, Mahātāpana, Saṅghātaka, Roruva, and Avīci hells? If you deny, how can you maintain your proposition? Can you quote me a Sutta to support this?

(b) You maintain that he entered the womb of his own free will. Do you also imply that he chose to be reborn in purgatory, or as an animal? That he possessed magic potency? You deny. I ask it again. You assent. Then did he practise the Four Steps to that potency—will, effort, thought, investigation? Neither can you quote me here a Sutta in justification.

(c) You maintain further that the Bodhisatta of his own free will performed that which was painful and hard to do. Do you thereby mean that he fell back on wrong views such as “the world is eternal,” etc., or “the world is finite,” etc., or “infinite,” etc.,” soul and body are the same,’… “are different,” “the Tathāgata exists after death, “does not exist,” “both so exists and does not” “neither so exists nor does not”? Can you quote me a Sutta in justification?

(d) You maintain further that the Bodhisatta of his own free will made a series of penances following alien teachers. Does this imply that he then held their views? Can you quote me a Sutta in justification?…