Points of Controversy or Subjects of Discourse
compiled by Magathera Tissa son of Moggali
trans by Shwe Zan Aung and Mrs Rhys Davids.
originally published in 1915, second edition 1960
Book 5 of the Abhidhamma
- Completed at Asoka's Counsil of Patna(third great council, circa
- Not taught in the Burmese Viharas, but only read by Theras (according
Table of secession according to Bhavya
(much much controversy over this division)
- Sthavira or Haimavata
- Saddharmavarsaka or Kasyapiya
- Buddhaghosa has a very different system of exegesis, as does everyone
else it seems...
List of the Schools contained in the Katha-Vatthu
O. Theravadin, The orthodox view
X. The Heterodox schools:
- Vajjiputtakas (iyas?)
- the Kassapikas
- The Andhakas
- Vetulyakas (of the Mahasunnavadins)
Points of Controversy
1. Of the existence of a personal entity
- formula: Is the person known in the sense of a real and ultimate fact?
- Is the person known in the same way as a real and ultimate
fact is known?
- Is the person not known in the same way as a real
and ultimate fact?
- Is the person known everywhere in that sense
- Is the person known always in that sense
- Is the person known in everything in that sense
- ...not known everywhere
- ...not known always
- ...not known in everything
- answers should be yes and yes or no and no
- controversies are the self taken in space, time, and against things
- In the affirmative, the self is taken absolutely, or merely in-itself.
- Comparative Inquiry
- "Is the person known in the sense of a real and ultimate
fact, and is material quality also known in the sense of a real
and ultimate fact?" yes. (no)
"Is material quality one thing and the person another?"
"Acknowlege the refutation: ...if the person and the material
quality each be known in the sense of real and ultimate facts, then
indeed you should also have admitted that they are distinct things...
if the latter cannot be admitted, neither should the former..."
- the table below contains all the terms to be related in this way.
(material quality and feeling..., etc)
- coefficiencts (sankharas)
The 4 aggregates
|eye, ear, nose, toungue, organ of touch, visible object, sound,
odour, taste, tangible object, mind, cognizible object
the twelve Sense factors
|eye as subjective element (eye contact), ear contact, nose contact,
toungue contact, body as subjective element
[+ 12 sense factors]
|Sight as objective element (eye consciousness) sounds, odours,
tastes, touches as objective element.
|visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, cognition as
|mind as subjective element, mind cognizing as subjective element,
cognizibles as objective element...
eye, ear nose, tongue, body, mind as controlling powers
the twenty-two controlling powers
|female sex, male sex, life as controlling power
|pleasure, pain, joy, grief, hedonic indifference as controlling
|the controlling powers: faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration,understanding
|the controlling powers as known: 'I shall come to know
the unknown', 'the coming to know', 'the having known'
( table from lines 18-73, page 15-16)
- This table of terms is used next in the formula:
Puggalavadin: "Is the person known in the sense of a real and
Theravadin: "No, it is not"
P: "Did the exalted one say: 'There is the person who works
for his own good? [from 3 nikayas, etc, minus "there is"
]. And is material quality known in the sense of a real and
P: "Is material quality one thing and the person another?"
T: "Nay, that cannot be said."
P: "Acknowlege this rejoinder: If the Exalted one said:
'there...good,' and if material quality... fact, then you should also
have admitted material quality and the person are two distinct things...."
- Now, substitute lines 18-73 (table above) in turn for "material
- Theravadin holds that material quality and feelings are real and ultimate
facts, but that they are distinct things, then by analogy, person and
material quality could be so...
- P does not admit that soul and body are different, yet physical frame
is different than personal entity; soul is identical to personal entity,
likewise physical frame is the same as the body...
- The term puggalo = the person, or personal entity, or "soul."
- various arguments on the transmigration of the soul, which recollect
appropriate suttanta as defense to say that there is a soul, it transmigrates
T: Is there any soul who after being human becomes a deva?"
T: Is the identical man the deva?
P: nay, that cannot be said
T: I repeat my question.
- . The commentary says of this that he answers no the first time since
a mere person could not be a god, yet the second time assents because
the Buddha says things like "I at that time was Sunetta,
- Thera retorts with notion of Karma, whereby the transmigrating soul
is neither same nor different, but rather the resultant of the Karma
acts of that life.
- several reformations of this same controversy follow.
- such arguments as: "If he has lost a hand or foot..."
"has leperosy..." "Does he transmigrate with feelings,
perception, mental coefficients, consciousness..." (30-1)
- The argument revolves around if the without five agregates there is
no individual, material frame (clearly) does not accompany the soul
in transmigration, body and soul are different (soul meaning "the
- Puggalavadins claim the self, the soul, is eternal...
- lots of occurrances of Thera repeating the question and without elaboration
on either part, Puggala reverses the answer, as if this were a known
practice of taking a statement first in a limited way, and then in a
more unlimited... e.g. "good" feeling vs. "good"
- [Thus far this is actually readable... worthy of intermediate study]
- Answers recurr such as "Yes, neither the same, nor two different..."
- okay, so the refutations are basically just explications of the Dhamma
as presented in the Suttanta; No new information is added. In
every case, It is held up as the authority, and refution comes in either
understanding the doctrine or not... Thus, not really philosophy...
- T: "Is it the person (self) who contemplates?"
T: "Does he contemplate when he has gone within or without.
P: "from within."
T: "Is the self the body?" (i prefer self to soul)
T: "Supposing he contemplates from without, is the sould one thing
and the body another?"
P: "nay, that cannot be said." (elseware I put simply no,
but its written this way most everywhere)
- They battle on page 60 trading sutras:
- "There is a person who works for his own good..." hence,
the person is known in the sense of a real or ultimate fact.
- "There is one person, bikkhus, who, being reborn in the world,
is born for the good, for the happiness of many, to show compassion
on the world, for the advantage, the good, the happiness of the
devas and men (Anguttara Nikaya i, 22)" same conclusion...
- THERA: "granting that... 'all things are without soul
[an-atta].'...hence surely it is wrong to say..."
- and again... "he does not doubt that misery arises, comes
to pass, that misery ceases, passes away, nor is he perplexed thereat.
And thereupon independent insight [aparapaccayanana] comes herein
to him. Now this, Kaccanan, thus far is right views."
(samyut. nik. ii. 17, iii. 135) hence is it wrong to say a persion
is known... etc.
- moreover... "the world is void, the world is void"
- this is truly an ancient conflict. One resoundingly resolved
on the side of the Theras
2. Of Falling Away
- The point: whether an arahant can fall away from enlightenment. And
Holy exegesis Batman! Sacrilege! This book is not Truly
Translated! footnote 4, pg 64.
- he can fall away from arahantship
- ...at any time
- ...that all arahants can fall away
- ...from Arahantship and all four path-fruitions
- ...would still be "partially" enlightened, as one who
loses "one lakh in four" would still be rich.
um. well, actually it does make it actually READABLE... which
is a pleasant change... But its not REAL! It therefore has a different
effect on the STUDENT. Its not INSCRUTIBLE as it is SUPPOSED to
be... I was going to COP-OUT and SKIM it for this info for chrissake!
Fine! just give me 350 pages on a platter!
So the answer is "no" while those who have not reached Arahantship
can fall away, the Arahant cannot. They have completely extingished
(here I adduce) all karma-production, so are free from rebirth, suffering,
furthermore, nowhere can you give an example of an Arahant who has
...And here's a bunch of sutras that say as much.
"We have, for the remainder of the dialogue as such, with its
abundant repetitions of the point controverted, and have endevoured
to reproduce all the stages of argument and the matter adduced therein..."
Of the Higher Life
Purification Piecemeal (put an of in front of each)
Every as Permanently Existing
what does my Past consist?
Some of the past and future still existing
applications of mindfulness
- "that there is no higher life among the devas."
- [here stops the reading, starts the skimming]
of existence in Immutable Modes
- centers around logical error of if all oranges are fruit, then
all fruit are oranges
- all objects of mindfulness are therefore held to be mindfulness
- Conveyance by another
- the knowlege of the Arahant
- Doubt in the Arahant
- the Arahant being Excelled by Others
- Articulate Utterance during Jnana-state (specifically that one utters
- Inducing Insight by saying 'Dukkha'
- the Duration of Consciousness
- the World as only a Cinderheap
a Specified Progress in Penetration
- from the quote "all is on fire, oh Bikkhus! How is everything
on fire? The eye is on fire, visible objects are on fire, visual
consciousness visual contact, and the pleasure , the pain, the neutral
feeling therefrom--all is on fire. On fire wherewithal?
I tell you, on fire with the fires of passion, hate, and ignorance;
with the fires of birth, decay, and death; with the fires of sorrow,
lamentation, ill, grief, and despair. All the field of sense,
all the field of mind, all the feeling therefrom is on fire with those
fires..." (from vinaya i, 134. ...and "the fire sermons"
- therefore, all is ABSOLUTELY without exception suffering; Thera
reminds them that there are pleasureable states, and therefore these
are qualifications on that claim. Hence, not absolute...
a Buddha's Every-day Usage (That Buddha's ordinary speech was supramundane)
- (that penetration is attained piecemeal
- the falicy is that it allows for one attaining "a quarter
penetration" or "a half of penetration..."
- that there are two cessations of Sorrow.
- The quality called "Ariyan
- Emancipation as Process
- the Eighth Man
- the Controlling Powers of the Eighth Man
- the Celestial Eye
- the Celestial Ear
- Insight into Destiny according to Deeds
- Moral Restraint
- Unconscious Life
- the plane wherein Consciousness neither is nor is not
- As to whether a Layman can be an Arahant
- Of... Arahantship as conferred by rebirth alone
- ...the Arahant's common Humanity
- ...the Retaining of Distinctive Endowments
- ...the Arahants Indifference to Sense-Cognition
- ...becoming 'the enlightened one' through Enlightenment
- ...one gifted with the Marks
- ...entering on the Path of Assurance
- More about the endowments
- ...putting off the Fetters
- the knowlege of the Adept
- Perverted perception or Hallucination in Jnana
- Analytic Insight
- Popular Knowlege
- the Mental Object in Telepathy
- Insight into the Future
- Knowlege of the Present
- Knowing other's Fruition
- Assurance of Salvation
- Causal Genesis
- the Four Truths
- the Four Immaterial Spheres of Life and Thought
- the Attaing to Cessation (Jhana)
- Space as visible
- the Four Elements, Five Senses, Actions, as Visibles
- the Classsification of Things
- Mental States as Mutually Connected
- Mental Properties
- Giving and the Gift
- the Effects of Gifts given in this Life
- the Earth and Karma
- Decay and Death and Karma
- the Ariyan Mind and its Results
- Results as again Causing Results
- Divers Desinies
- an Intermediate State
- the Pleasure of Sense
- the Rupa-Element
- the Arupa-Element
- the Senses in the Rupa-Sphere
- Matter in the Arupa-Sphere
- Matter as ethically Good or Bad
- Vital Power
- a Result of Karma
- Release through Seeing of Good
- the Ambrosial as an Object by which we are bound
- Matter as Subjective
- Bias as without Mental Object
- Insight as without Mental Object
- Past Ideas
- Future Ideas
- Initial application of Mindfulness
- Sound as purely Mental
- Speech as (not) conforming to thought
- Action as (not) conforming to thought
- Past, future, present
- the Path and Bodily Form
- Path Culture and the senses
- Sensations as Moral and Immoral
- Sensations and Ideations
- Two Codes of Morals
- Virtue or Morality as Automatic
- Virtue as conforming to thought
- Growth through Observance
- \ Are Acts of Intimation Virtue?
- Non-intimation as immoral
- Three facts about Latent Bias
- Insight and Ordinary Consciousness
- the Utterance "this is pain and Sorrow!"
- the force of the Magic Gift [iddhi]
- the Causality of Things
- Sound as a Result of Karma
- the Sense-Organs
- the Seven Rebirths Limit
- \ Sequel
- Evil Tendency
- him who has reached the Seventh Rebirth
- Desire for Ideas and the Cause of Ill
- Age-Long Penalty
- a Doomed Man's Morality
- Abettors of Cardinal Crimes
- one whose Salvation is Morally Certain
- one in the Toils
- Captivity and Release
- Jhana as Enjoyment
- Lust for the Unpleasant
- Natural Desire for Mental Objects as Unmoral
- Desire for Ideas and the Cause of Ill
- the mental consecutiveness of Good and Bad
- the pre-natal Development of sense-organs
- Immediate contiguity in Sense
- the Outward Life of the Ariyan
- Latant Bias as something Apart
- Unconscious Outburts of Corruption
- Desire as inherent in Heavenly Things
- the Unmoral and the Unrevealed
- the Unincluded
- Correlation as specifically Fixed
- Reciprocal Correlation
- Instants, Moments, Seconds of Time
- the Intoxicants
- Decay and Death
- Trance (i)
- Trance (ii)
- Trance (iii)
- Trance as a means of reaching the Unconscious Sphere
- Karma and is Accumulation
- Assisting Another's Mind
- making another happy according to his Deserts
- Attending to Everything at Once
- Matter as a Moral Condition (hetu)
- Matter and Morality
- Matter as Morally Good or Bad
- Matter as Result
- Matter as in the Material and Immaterial Heavens
- Desire as in the Higher Heavens
- an Arahant having Accumulated Merit
- Arahants and Untimely Death
- Everything as due to Karma
- Of dukkha and Sentient Organisms
- Of 'Save only the Ariyan Path'
- the Order and the Accepting of Gifts
- the Order and the Purifying of Gifts
- the Order and Daily Life
- the Order and the Fruit of Giving
- the Buddha and the Fruit of Giving
- the Sanctification of the Gift
- the Buddha and this World
- how the Norm was Taught
- the Buddha and Pity
- the Buddha and Fragrant Things
- a One and Only Path
- the Transitions from One Jhana to Another
- Jhana and its Intervals
- Hearing in Jhana
- the Eye and Seeing
- Getting Rid of Corruption
- the Void
- the Fruits of Life in Religion
- Nibbana as Morally Good
- Assurance which is not final
- the Moral and Controlling Powers
- Unintentional Crime
- the Guards of Purgatory
- Animals in Heaven
- the Ariyan Path
- our Religion
- Experience as inseparable from Personality
- Certain Fetters
- Supernormal Potency
- the Unmoral
- Correlation by Repetition
- Momentary Duration
- United Resolve
- Bogus Arahants
- Self-governed Destiny
- Counterfeit States of Consciousness
- the Undetermined