Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kathavatthu - Appendix II

Points of  Controversy
Subjects of  Discourse

(II. , 9 , 10. )
The latter term means literally ' beyond-well-making-go,'
and, in this physical sense, is used once or twice in the
Vedas and the Upanisads. Mental activity, however,
borrowed the term now and then in the older Upanisads, so
that the double usage obtained contemporaneously, just as
we speak of  ' getting at,' or ' grasping ' either a book, or a
meaning in it. In Buddhist literature the secondary
psychological, and metaphysical meaning would seem alone
to have survived. Buddhaghosa, commenting on the Dtgha-
Nik.  (i. p. 32: ' samaya '), distinguishes three uses of
the compound term, one of  which is that which is used
in the discourse in question, namely, pativedha , or
penetration, piercing, that is, by, as it were, an in thrust
of  mind. In the opening of  the
 Abhisamaya-vagga, '
Samyutta-Nik.,  ii., 133, it is applied to one who compre-
hends, and is used synonymously with 4
 acquiring a vision
(eye) for  things'; in the 'Vacchagotta-Sangyutta' (ibid.,
iii. 260) it is used synonymously with insight, vision,
enlightenment, penetration. In the Milinda questions,
again, we find  it associated with pativedha: 'Who have
penetrated to a comprehension of  the Four Truths (or
Facts)' (transl. ii. 237). Similarly in the Dhammapada
Comy.: ' Aggasavaka-vatthu(i. 109 f.).
The analytic aspect of  intellectual activity being, as we

have seen, so emphatically developed in the doctrine of
Patisambhida , we are brought up against a dual view
of  cognition in Buddhist philosophy, suggestive of  the
sharper and more systematically worked out distinction in
Henri Bergson's philosophy between Vintelligence—the
mind as analytic—and intuition, or that immediacy of  in-
sight which 4
 by a sort of  intellectual sympathy' lire*,
or recreates that which it is coming-to-know.
In the Ariyan—to resume Dr. Ledi's note on Pati -
sambhida—intuition or insight (ariya-magga-nana)
is accompanied by analysis. In the case of  puthuj -
jana' s ('average sensual folk,'  or it may be clever or
learned, but not truly religious folk),  much analytic insight
may be developed after  adequate studies. But that which
they may thus acquire by sutama y a-nan a (cf .  XX., 3),
i.e., intellect developed by information,  is not so much
a genuine intuitive insight as erudite insight. Thus
in the Commentaries it is said : —" But the worldling
wins no intuitive insight even after  he has acquired much
learning." But there is no Ariyan who has not attained
intuitive insight. And it is peculiarly his to practise that
ekabhisamaya, or penetration into the unity of  the
real and the true, which is arrested and dismembered in
analysis. His endeavour is, in the metaphor of  the
Katha-vatthu  (II. 10), not to be content with the wand,
wooden or gold, o f  language, pointing only at, but never
revealing that which it tries to express, but to enter into
 heap of  paddy or of  gold.' That power of  penetration,
according to Ledi Sadaw (•JPTS1914,  p. 154 L), he can
attain by persistent cultivation transforming  his analytic,
inferential  knowledge. When won, its distinctive quality
is the power of  cognizing the purely phenomenal, the
purely elemental stripped of  the crust of  the pseudo-
permanencies :—' person,' 'being,' 'self,' 'soul,' 'persistent
thing.' The wand of  language points to all these crust-
names. By abhisamaya, pativedha, intuition, he
gets beneath them.

(V. , 4 , p . 17 7 ; YL , 1 , p . 18 5 ; XIII. , 4 , p . 275. )
Niy am a means ' fixity,'  but ni y a ma is 'that which
fixes.'  The former  is derived from  ni-yam-ati , to fix;
the latter from  the causative : niy ameti , to cause to be
fixed.  When the Path—i.e., a certain direction, course,
tendency, profession,  progressive system of  a person's life
—is called sammatta , or, contrariwise, micchatta -
n i y a m a, both forms  are understood in the causal sense.
Thus the former  ' path' inevitably establishes the state of
exemption from  apaya' s (rebirth in misery), and the
latter inevitably establishes purgatorial retribution after
the next death. Niy am a, then, is that by which the
N i y a m a (the fixed,  or inevitable order o f  things) is estab-
lished, or that by which fixity  is brought about, or marked
out in the order of  things.
 (With reference  to the appa-
rently indiscriminate use of  ni y a ma, niy am a—see
p. 275, n. 1—the Burmese are wont carelessly to write the
former  for  the latter, because they always pronounce the
a short and quick.
Our choice of  Assurance may seem to give an undue
subjectivity to the pair of  terms. It is true that it lends
itself  here to criticism. And we confess  that the wr
ish to
get a term with the religious expressiveness that Assurance
bears with it for  readers nurtured in Christian tradition
overbore our first  thought of  choosing certainty, fixity,
fixed  order. We may, however, add to our apology (1) that
in XIX. 7, § 1,
 assurance' is opposed to ' doubt,' which is
unquestionably subjective ; (2) that both ' assurance' and
the Greek plerophoria3
 have both an objective and a sub-
jective import. 'Assurance ' may mean a means or orderly
arrangement through which we attain assured feeling,  say,

 Cf .  Buddhism,  London, 1912, p. 119 f .
 Cf.  English 'drummer,' which gives the sound of  the short
Indian a.
3 See Bom. xiv. 5; Col. ii. 2 ; 1 These. I 5 ; Heb. vi. 11—'to the
full  assurance of  hope to the end.'

about our property. The Greek word is simply a 'full
conveyance,' to wit, of  news or evidence.
We should not therefore  be far  from  the truth in con-
sidering our twin terms rendered by Assurance as the more
subjective aspect of  the Buddhist notion of  course or destiny
popularly and objectively expressed as Path (m a g g a)—
path good or bad:—the Way, narrow or broad, the Path,
hoclos, via, of  Christian doctrine, ' the way of  his saints,'
' the way of  the evil man' of  the Jewish doctrine (Prov.
ii. 8, 12).
(XX L 7, 8. )
The two discourses so numbered deal with the belief  or
disbelief  in a rigid, inexorable uniformity  of  cause and
effect  in the cosmos, as obtaining not only as a general law,
but also in all particular successions of  cause-effect.
In other words, can we predict  for  every phenomenon
(dhamma) , for  every act (kamma), a corresponding,
assignable result ? Is this result the immutable invariable
result of  that  cause ?
The term for  such an immutable fixed  result, for  the
Buddhist, is niyata , an adjectival past participle corre-
sponding to niyama, on which see note A. The idea of
predictability is also taken into account—see the interesting
little discourse, V. 8:—Of  Insight  into the Future—but  the
more prevailing notion qualifying  the belief  in cosmic order
is that of  fixity  and of  flexibility.
The orthodox view is that, in the whole causal flux  of
' happenings '—and these comprise all dhamma ' s, all
kamma's—there are only two rigid successions, or orders
o f  specifically  fixed  kinds of  cause-and-effect.  These are—
(1) The sammatta-niyama ; (2) the micchatta -
niyama . By or in the latter, certain deeds, such as
matricide, result in purgatorial retribution immediately
after  the doer's next death. By or in the former,  the Path-
graduate will win eventually the highest 'fruit'  and

Nibbana. Neither result is meted out by any Celestial
Power. Both results are inherent to that cosmodicy or
natural order which includes  a moral  order  (k a m m a-
niyama) , and which any judge, terrestrial or celestial,
does or would only assist in carrying out. To that a Bud-
dhist might adapt and apply the Christian logion :—'Before
Abraham was, I am'—and say :—' Before  the Judge was,
IT is.' That some happenings are moral, some immoral, is
not so because of  any pronouncements human or divine.
The history of  human ideas reveals mankind as not
creating the moral code, but as evolving morally in efforts
to interpret  the moral order.
But these two fixed  orders do not exhaust the universe
 happenings.' There is a third category belonging to
neither. Hence the objection of  the Theravadin to the
word 'all.' Dhamma ' s is a wider category than
kamma' s or karma. What is true of  dhamma' s is
true of  k a m m a's, for  the former  category includes the
latter. But the line of  reasoning in the discourse on
dhamma' s refers  to mind and matter as exhausting the
universe of  existence.
As regards matter, we may illustrate by a modern
instance. The opponent would maintain that both radium
and helium are substances immutably fixed,  each in its
own nature, because of  the, as yet, mysterious radio-active
properties of  the former,  and because of  the—so to speak
—' heliocity1
 of  the latter. Now the Theravadin would not
know that radium may change into helium. But from  his
general point of  view he would reply that anyway neither
radium nor helium is immutably fixed,  because they do
not belong to either of  the fixed  orders recognized in
his doctrine. Thus would he conclude respecting all
dhamma' s that are not kamma's .
Concerning these, that is, moral and immoral acts, the
opponent submits that the universal law of  causation is
uniform  to this extent, that every kind of  action must
invariably, inevitably have its specific  reaction, that the

 Cf.  Buddhism,  London, 1912, chap. v.

same kamma must have the same effect.  This is accepted
as true in tendency, and as a general theory only. But
whereas Buddhist philosophy did not anticipate the Berg-
sonian insight into the effects  of  vital causes amounting to
new and unpredictable creations,  it did and does recognize
the immense complexity in the eventuation of  moral results.
Kamma's, it teaches, are liable to be counteracted and
deflected,  compounded and annulled in what might be
called the
 composition of  moral forces.'
 Hence there
is nothing rigid, or, as we should say, definitely  predictable,
about their results in so far  as they come under the Third
or residual category mentioned above, and not under either
of  the two ' fixed'niyat  a orders.
(YI. 1, p. 187; XI. 7, p. 261.) i may be used to mean cause. And the yet more
abstract form  thitata , although, in the latter reference,
we have called it ' state of  being a cause,' is used concretely
as in the former  reference  (see n. 2), meaning ' causes'
by which resulting things are established. For in Abhi-
dhamma only bhava-sadhan a definitions—i.e.,  defi-
nitions in terms of'  state,' are recognized (see Convpendmm,
p. 7). Hence dh atu-dhamma-thit a ta becomes that
which, as cause, establishes elements as effects.  Thus it is
applied to each term in the chain o f  causation (paticea -
samuppada) : to ignorance as the cause of  karma
(sankhara's) , to these as the cause of  consciousness,
and so on.
Synonymous with this is the term dhamma-niyamata,
meaning that which as cause invariably Jixes  things, in
our minds, as effects.
Bearing these implications in mind, we may render the
commentarial discussion of  the Sutta-passage (p. 187, § 4,
as follows:  'What I have described above as dhat.u-
dhamma-thitata , or-niyamata, is no other than

 See, e.g., on classes of  karma, Compendium,  p. 148 f

the terms " ignorance," etc. Whether the Tathagata has
arisen or not, volitional actions of  mind (karma) come into
being because of  ignorance, and rebirth -cons cio u sn e ss
comes into being because of  volitional actions of  mind, etc.
Hence in the phrase " because of  ignorance the actions of
the mind," ignorance is termed dhammathitata ,
because, as a cause or means, it establishes the dhamma' s
which are actions of  mind. Or again, " ignorance " is
termed d h a m m a - niyamat a because, as cause or
means, it invariably fixes  or marks them.'
The difference  between the two synonyms would seem
to be that -t hi t at a is objective, -niyamat a is sub-
jective. In other words, the basic principle ' ignorance,'
or any other a n g a in the chain, is there as a cause per se,
whether Tathagatas arise or not. But because of  the
stability of  the law of  causality, or uniformity  in the order
of  phenomena (dhamma-niy am at a), or orderly pro-
gression of  the Norm, we are enabled by the principle of
induction to infer  the effect  from  the cause.
It is clear, from  our Commentary, that dhamma in
this connection means ' effects'  [in the Chain of  Causa-
tion]. Moreover, the Abhidlicmappaddpika-sncl  refers  both
synonyms to effect:—  thita va m dhatii  dhammathitata
dhamma-niy  amat a ddisu  i
 — i.e., ' in the
effect.'  This last term =paticca-mmuppanna, and is op-
posed to paccaya : cause, condition, and paticca -
samuppada : any concrete cause (in the causal formula).
(X. 3, § 4, p. 246.)
Nimitt a is derived by some from  ni + ma, to limit;
and is defined  as ' that which limits its own fruit  (effect)  *:
attan o phaia g nirainatet i (Abhidhanappadipika-
suci). According to this definition  it denotes a causal
factor,  limiting, determining, conditioning, characterizing,
etc., its own effect.
 Hence anything entering into a causal

 Cf .  p. 226, n. l.

relation, by which its effect  is signified,  marked, or charac-
terized, is a nimitta . An object, image, or concept
which, on being meditated upon, induces samadh i
(Jhana) is a nimitt a (see the stages specified  in Com-
pendium,  p. 54). False opinion (ditthi ) engendered by
hallucination concerning impermanence—in other words,
a perverted view of  things as permanent—is a nimitt a
(ibid.,  p. 217). This functions  either as a cause of  ' will-to-
live,' or as a sign of  worldliness. Emancipation from  this
nimitt a is termed animittavimokkh a (ibid.,
p. 216). Again, sexual characters are comprised under
four  heads: linga, nimitta, akappa, kutta, nimitta,
standing for  outward characteristics, male or female  (Bud.
Psy. Eth.,  § § 633, 634).
Later exegeses, deriving the word from  the root mill,
to pour out, are probably derivations d'occasion.
Now in this argument (X. 3) the opponent confuses  the
n a n i m i 11 a [-g a h i]—4
 does not grasp at the general [or
sex] characters of  the object seen, heard, etc.'—of  the
quotation with a nimitta , a synonym, like 'emptiness'
(sunnata ) of  Nibbana. He judges that the Path-
graduate, when he is not -nimitta-grasping, is grasping
the a-nimitta or signless (Nibbana), instead of  exercising
self-control  in presence of  alluring features  in external ob-
jects, whether these be attractive human beings or what not.
According to the Commentary the expression cited,
'does not grasp at, etc.,' refers  'not to the moment of
visual or other sense-consciousness, but to the javana-
kkhana, or moment of  apperception ; hence even in the
worldly course of  things it is inconclusive.' This is made
clearer in the following  discourse (X. 4), where ethical
matters are stated to lie outside the range of  sense-con-
sciousness as such.


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