Points of Controversy

8.5. Of the Rūpa-element

Controverted Point: That the ultimate “datum or element of rūpa” is things cognized as material.

Theravādin: Is then rūpa a sphere of life, a destiny, a realm of beings, renewed life, a matrix, a station for rebirth-consciousness, an acquiring of individuality? Is there karma leading to it, beings to be reborn in it? Do they get born, grow old, die, decease, get rebirth there? Are the five aggregates “in” rūpa? Is it a five-mode existence? Now all these you can predicate of the Rūpa-datum, but not of rūpa., or material quality. Hence the latter has not all that is implicated in the former.

Again, if the Rūpa-datum consists only of material qualities—and, as you will admit, there is material quality in the kāma-datum—is this latter datum the same as Rūpa-datum? You say “no.” But think. You must admit it is. Then we get a man in two life-spheres at the same time… .