Points of Controversy

3.6. Of the Controlling Powers of the Eighth Man

Controverted Point: That the five controlling powers are absent in a person of the Eighth Stage.

Theravādin: You must deny him faith, if you deny in him the controlling power of faith. So also for the other four. But you will not go as far as that. Contrariwise, you do allow that he as Eighth Man has faith and the rest, but you go no farther. Yet you are prepared to admit, with respect to other controlling powers—e.g., mind, gladness, etc. … and psychic life—that whoso has the attribute, has also the controlling power of it. Why draw the line at those five? as, in fact, you do.

You contend that, whereas the controlling power of faith is absent in him, faith itself is not absent. That whereas the controlling powers of energy, mindfulness, samādhi, and reason are absent in him, he is neither indolent, nor heedless, nor unsteady or mentally vacillating, nor stupid, nor deaf, nor dumb.

You acknowledge that his faith, energy, etc., are of the saving kind called forth-leading, yet you do not credit him with the controlling powers in which such attributes consist.

You admit the attainment both of the attributes and of these five controlling powers in the person who is practising that he may realize the fruit of Once-Returning, of Never-Returning, of Arahantship, but you deny the latter for the Eighth Man alone; the one goes with the other!

Finally, is there not a Suttanta in which the Exalted One said:

“The five controlling powers, bhikkhus—which are they? The controlling powers that are faith, energy, mindfulness, samādhi, understanding. From the completion and perfection of these five, a man becomes Arahant. Held in a weaker degree, the holder becomes one who is practising that he may realize the Fruit of Arahantship; in a yet weaker degree the holder becomes a Never-Returner; in a yet weaker degree, one who is practising that he may realize the Fruit of Never-Returning; in a yet weaker degree, a Once-Returner; in a yet weaker degree, one who is practising that he may realize the Fruit of Once-Returning; in a yet weaker degree, a Stream-Winner; in a yet weaker degree, one who is practising that he may realize the Fruit of Stream-Winning. In whom these five controlling powers are in every way, and everywhere wholly absent, he, I declare, is one who stands without, in the ranks of the average man.”

Yet you would not say that the Eighth Man stood thus without? Hence you must concede that the five controlling powers are present in him.