Points of Controversy

7.8. Of the Earth and Karma

Controverted Point: That old age and death are a result of action.

Theravādin: The first two sections are verbatim as in the preceding discourse, save that instead of “result of action” (kamma-vipāka), “result” (vipāka) only is used.

Again, you admit, do you not, that the decay and dying of bad states of mind is the result of previous bad states? But then you must also admit that the decay and dying of good states of mind is the result of previous good states—which you deny… . But in denying the latter, you imply denial of the former statement… .

Or do you hold that the decay and dying of good states of mind is the result of previous bad states? You do, you say. Then you imply that the decay and dying of bad states is the result of previous good states—which you deny… . But in denying this, you imply denial of the former statement… .

Or do you affirm that the decay and dying of both good and bad states of mind are the result of bad states? You do, you say. Then you must say no less: “is the result of good states’—which you deny… .

Andhaka: You say my proposition is false. But surely acts conduce to the deterioration and to the curtailment of life? If so, my proposition is true.