Points of Controversy

8.3. Of the Pleasures of Sense

Controverted Point: That the kāma-sphere means only the fivefold pleasures of sense.

Theravādin: You admit, do you not, that desire, intention, zest, and joy, and the passion or lust that is involved in each, are all bound up with the fivefold pleasures of sense? How then can you maintain that the the sensual element is only those pleasures?

Do you mean that human organs of sense are not coextensive with the sensual element, the five organs of external sense and the co-ordinating sense, or mind? No, you say (meaning only the pleasures of sense in your proposition); but think again as to mind… . Yes, you now say, mind is not the sensual element. But was it not said by the Exalted One:

“There are five kinds of sensual pleasure in the world,
And mind is known as the sixth;
Having dispelled desire for these,
Thus one is freed from suffering.”

Hence it cannot be said that the the sensual element does not include the mind.

Again, can you say that the pleasures of sense amount to a sphere of life, a destiny, a realm of beings, to renewed life, to a matrix, a station for consciousness, an acquiring of individuality? Is there karma leading to them? Are there beings to be reborn in them? Do beings get born, grow old, die, decease, get reborn “in” sense-pleasures? Are there the five aggregates in them? Are they a five-mode existence? Are Buddhas Supreme, Silent Buddhas, Chief Pairs of disciples reborn in them? All these things you can predicate of the “kāma-element,” but not one of them of the pleasures of sense.

Pubbaseliyas: But was it not said by the Exalted One:

Bhikkhus, there are these fivefold kāma-pleasures—which are they? Objects desirable, sweet, agreeable, dear, connected with kāma, and seductive, are cognizable by sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch—these are the five kinds of kāma pleasures.”

Hence surely the kāma-element is only those five.