Points of Controversy

4.9. More about Endowment

Controverted Point: That a person who is practising in order to realize Arahantship possesses as a persistent distinct endowment the preceding three fruitions.

Theravādin: You say, in fact, that such a person is endowed with, or possesses four contacts, four feelings, four perceptions, volitions, thoughts, four faiths, energies, mindfulnesses, samādhis, understandings—which cannot be.

Do you make an analogous assertion as to one who is practising for the Third or Second Paths? An analogous paradox will apply in that case; and you must be able to describe such persons in terms of lower stages, e.g. one practising for the topmost stage in terms of one who has only got to the first—which is anomalous.

But can a person who is a proximate candidate for Arahantship be described in terms of a Stream-Winner? Can he be both at the same time? Even if he be a Never- Returner, is he rightly so described when he is in process of becoming Arahant? Similarly for a candidate for the Third and Second Fruitions.

Would you not rather maintain that a person practising in order to realize Arahantship had evolved past the fruition of Stream-Winning?

Or do you maintain that one so evolved was still holding that first Fruit as a distinctive quality? For then you must also hold that he also remains possessed of those evil qualities which as Stream-Winner he has evolved out of—which is absurd.

A similar argument applies to a proximate? candidate for Arahantship (Fourth Fruit) and the Second Path and Fruit; to such a candidate and the Third Path and Fruit; to a proximate candidate for the Third Fruit and the First and Second Paths and Fruits; and to a proximate candidate for the Second Fruit, and the First Path and Fruit.

Uttarapāthakas and Andhakas: If our proposition is wrong, surely you would nevertheless say that a person who is a proximate candidate for realizing Arahantship had both won the preceding three Fruits, and had not fallen away from them?

Theravādin: Yes, that is true.

Uttarapāthakas and Andhakas: Surely then he is still possessed of them. And so for candidates in the Third, Second and First Paths.

Theravādin: Assuming that he is still possessed of the three Fruits, do you also admit that, having attained to all four Paths, he is still possessed of all the Paths? Of course you do not; there at least you see my point.

Neither do you admit a similar possession in other candidates.