Points of Controversy

4.3. Of the Arahant’s Common Humanity

Controverted Point: That all that belongs to the Arahant is devoid of defilements.

Theravādin: The things devoid of defilements are the Four Paths, the Four Fruits, Nibbāna, and the thirty-seven factors of enlightenment; but these do not constitute everything belonging to an Arahant. His five sense-organs, for instance, you do not call free from defilements—hence your proposition falls through.

His body, again, is destined to be seized and coerced, cut off and broken up, and shared by crows, vultures, and kites—is anything “free from defilements” to be so described?

Into his body poison may get, and fire and the knife—is anything “free from defilements” to be so described?

His body may get bound by captivity, by ropes, by chains, may be interned in a village, town, city, or province, may be imprisoned by the fourfold bondage, the fifth being strangling—is anything “free from defilements” liable to this?

Moreover, if an Arahant give his robe to a man of the world, does that which was free from defilements thereby become co-intoxicant? You may admit this in general terms, but do you admit that that which is free from defilements may also be the opposite? If you say “yes,” then, by the analogy of the robe, anything else about the Arahant—his religious characters: Path, Fruit, etc.—having been free from defilements, may become co-intoxicant. The analogy may also be based on the gift of food, lodging, or medicine.

Or, conversely, if a man of the world give a robe or other requisite to an Arahant, does that which is cointoxicant become thereby the opposite? Does that which has been co-intoxicant become free from defilements—lust, for instance, hate, delusion … indiscretion such as beset and characterize the man of the world?

Uttarapāthakas: You condemn my proposition. But is not the Arahant free from defilements? If he is, then I say that everything connected with him is so.