Points of Controversy

5.9. Of Knowledge of the Present

Controverted Point: That the present may be known.

Theravādin: If there be a knowledge of the present, does one know that knowledge by the same act of knowledge? If you deny, your proposition must fall. If you assent, I ask: Does one know that he knows the present by that same act of knowledge? You deny, and your previous assertion falls. If you assent, I ask: Is the conscious act of knowing the object of the knowledge? You deny, and your previous assertion falls. If you assent, then you imply that one touches contact by the contact, feels feeling by that feeling, wills volition by that volition. So for the initial and the sustained application of thought. So for zest, for mindfulness, for understanding. You imply that one cuts a sword with that sword; an axe with that axe; a knife with that knife; an adze with that adze; that one sews a needle with that needle; handles the tip of a finger with that finger; kisses the tip of the nose with that nose; handles the head with that head; washes off impurity with that impurity.

Andhaka: I am wrong then? But when all things are seen as impermanent, is not that knowledge also seen as impermanent? Surely then I am right.