Points of Controversy

7.3. Of Menial Properties

Controverted Point: That they do not exist.

Theravādin: You surely do not also deny that some mental phenomena are concomitant, co-existent, conjoined with consciousness, have their genesis and cessation, physical basis and object in common with it? Why then exclude the “mental?” Contact, for instance, is co-existent with consciousness; hence it is a “mental,” i.e., a property or concomitant of mind. So are feeling, perception, volition, faith, energy, mindfulness, samādhi, understanding, lust, hate, delusion, … indiscretion—all the “mentals.”

Rājagirikas and Siddhatthikas: You allow then that what is co-existent with consciousness is a “mental.” Do you equally admit that what is co-existent with contact is a “contactal,” or that what is co-existent with each of those mental phenomena is to be analogously regarded; for instance, that what is co-existent with indiscretion is an “indiscretional”?

Theravādin: Certainly. And if you assert that there are no mental phenomena corresponding to our term “mentals”, was it not said by the Exalted One:

“This mind and mental phenomena
Are not-self for one who understands.
One who discerns the inferior and superior in both,
The seer, he knows that they are of the nature to disintegrate.”

Or again, was it not said by the Exalted One:

“Suppose in this case, Kevatta, that a bhikkhu can make manifest the mind, and the mental property, and the direction and application of thought in other beings, other individuals, saying: Such is your mind. This is your mind. Thus and thus are you, conscious.”

Hence there is such a thing as a “mental” that is, a property, or concomitant, of conciousness or mind .