Points of Controversy

8.8. Of the Senses in the Rūpa-Sphere

Controverted Point: That there is matter among the Immaterial.

Theravādin: Is then “matter” (rūpa) a sphere of life, a destiny, a realm of beings, renewed life, a matrix, an acquiring of individuality? This you deny; but all this you can predicate truly of Arūpa. Hence you cannot maintain your proposition.

You cannot predicate them truly of a five-mode existence, one mode of which is material qualities. But you can do so respecting a four-mode existence, that is, with the material qualities omitted, as is the case with Arūpa… .

You can predicate them truly of the Rūpa-sphere, where there yet is matter. But this sphere is not identical with the Arūpa-sphere. And if you predicate matter of the Arūpa-sphere, you must show that matter agrees with the description you can truly give of the Arūpasphere as a state of existence, a destiny, etc.

Again, did not the Exalted One say that the Arūpa was a way of escape from visible or material things? If that is true, do you still maintain your proposition? Yes? Well, then, the Exalted One said that renunciation was a way of escape from sense-desires. Now, according to your reasoning (if there is matter in the Immaterial), there are sense-desires in renunciation, and there are defilements in those who are freed from them, there are things included” (in intoxicant-infested states of the three spheres) among the “unincluded” which is absurd.