Points of Controversy
6.1. Of Assurance of salvation
Theravādin: Then is Assurance that other unconditioned called Nibbāna, or the Shelter, the Cave, the Refuge, the Goal, the Past-Decease, the Deathless? You deny. Yet you would call both alike unconditioned. Are there then two kinds of unconditioned? If you deny, you cannot affirm; if you assent, then for all we know there are two Shelters… two Goals… two Nibbānas. If you deny, you cannot affirm your proposition; if you assent, then do # you allow that of the two Nibbānas one is higher than the other, sublimer than the other, exalted more than the other? Is there a boundary, or a division, or a line, or an interstice between them? Of course you deny… .
Again, are there any who enter into and attain Assurance, cause it to arise, to keep arising, set it up, continue to set it up, bring it to pass, to come into being, produce it, continue to produce it? “Of course,” you say. But are these terms that you can apply to what is unconditioned? Of course not… .
Again, is the Path (the Fourfold) “unconditioned? “No,” you say, “conditioned.” Yet you would make Assurance unconditioned; the Path of Stream-Winning, Once-Returning, Never-Returning, Arahantship, conditioned; but Assurance of Stream-Winning, etc., unconditioned!…
Andhaka: Then Assurance must be unconditioned that is, it cannot begin and cease.
Theravādin: But your argument can be applied to false Assurance. You would not therefore call that unconditioned!