Points of Controversy

3.9. Of Insight into Destiny according to Deeds

Controverted Point: That the celestial eye amounts to insight into destiny according to deeds.

Theravādin: Your proposition involves this also: that in the act of vision, attention is also paid to the sequence of the Karma—which you did not allow. Or, if you do allow this, you are further implying a combination of two contacts and two consciousnesses—which you do not allow.

Either, I repeat, you refuse to admit, that the act of seeing with the celestial eye involves judgment:” these beings, sirs, have plenty of evil deeds, words, and thoughts in their past: they are accusers of Ariyans, holders of erratic views, undertakers of actions in conformity therewith; now that their living frame is broken up, they are reborn in purgatory, in the abode of the fallen, the destiny of evil-doers, a woeful doom; but those folk, sirs, on the other hand, have plenty of good deeds, words, and thoughts to their account: the opposite of the foregoing; they are now reborn in a heaven to a happy destiny ”; or, you accept this implication in celestial sight, and concede that in what is really one act of consciousness there are two contacts (or mental stimuli) and two consciousnesses.

Again, if there have been those who, without this celestial vision, without having obtained, arrived at, and realized it, have had insight into destiny as being according to deeds, your proposition cannot stand. The venerable Sāriputta, as you imagine, was such an one. Did he not say:

“Nor to attain the vision of my past,
Nor for the means to see—the eye divine—
The mystic power to read the thoughts of men,
Discern decease, rebirth in earth and heaven,
Nor for the ear. celestially attuned
Cared I to strive.”