Points of Controversy

9.5. Of Insight as without Mental Object

Controverted Point: That insight is without mental object.

Theravādin: Then insight must be either material quality, or Nibbāna, or one of the five organs of sense, or their five external objects (since these are the things that are without mental object). But this you deny… .

You deny also that understanding, as controlling power or force, as right views, as the search for truth by intuition, is without mental object, affirming the contrary. Then why exclude insight?

Here, too, you judge that the aggregate of mental coefficients is involved. But as in the preceding discourse, so here: you cannot say, a mental aggregate is without object, or partly so. And you cannot affirm that understanding, which is involved in that aggregate, is with mental object, while insight, also involved in it, is without.

Andhakas: You deny that insight is objectless. Is it right to say that the Arahant is “full of insight,” while he is visually cognitive?

Theravādin: Yes.

Andhakas: Has his insight at that moment an object?

Theravādin: No, that cannot truly be said… . But if you substitute “full of understanding” for “full of insight,” you yourself admit that he is full of understanding while visually cognitive, and at the same time you deny that his understanding, during that process, has an object.