Points of Controversy
4.4. Of the Retaining of Distinctive Endowments
Theravādin: You say, in fact, that an. Arahant is endowed with all the Four Fruits, a Never-Returner with three, a Once-Returner with two. Then you must also admit that an Arahant is endowed with four contacts, four feelings, four perceptions, four volitions, four thoughts, four faiths, energies, mindfulnesses, samādhis, understandings; the Never-Returner with three of each, the Once-Returner with two of each—which you must deny.
Again, if an Arahant is endowed with the first fruition, the second, and the third, he must be one of whom the characteristics of all three classes of the first, of the second, and of all five classes of the third stages are true. Then he would be rightly described as in one and all at the same time—which is absurd. The same argument holds for those who have realized the Third and the Second Fruit.
Again, you admit that one who is endowed with the Fruit of Stream-Winning is rightly called “Stream- Winner.” But is the same person both Stream-Winner and Arahant? Similarly for the two other fruitions. Similarly, is the same person both Never-Returner and Stream- Winner, or both Once-Returner and Never-Returner?
Because, if you are to maintain consistently that the Arahant is yet endowed with that Path and that Fruit out of and past which he has evolved, you must further ascribe to him all those corruptions out of which the Stream- Winner evolves—which is absurd. Similarly for the other Paths and Fruits. And similarly for the Never-Returner and the Once-Returner.
Uttarapāthakas: But if it be wrong to say that an Arahant is endowed with four Fruits, not one, a Never-Returner with three, not one, a Once-Returner with two, not one, do you deny that the Arahant has acquired four Fruits and has not fallen away from them, the Never-Returner three, and so on? You do not deny this. Hence it is right to say: They “are endowed with” four, three, two Fruits.
Theravādin: I grant they have acquired them, and have not fallen away from them. But I say that, if you affirm that they are endowed with the Fruits, you must no less affirm a fortiori that they are endowed with the respective Paths. But by pushing the argument a step further, we have seen that you were landed in the absurdity of ascribing corruptions to saints.