Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kathavatthu - Three other Arguments; the Unmoral; Correlation by Repetition; Momentary Duration

Points of Controversy
Subjects of Discourse

5. Three Other Arguments: (a) On Attainment of Arahant-
ship by the Embryo; (b) on Penetration of Truth by a
Dreamer; (e) on Attainment of Arahantship) by a
From the Commentary.—The attainment of Arahantship by very
young Stream-winners, [notably the story of] the [phenomenal] seven-
year-old son of the lay-believer Suppavasa,2 led the same sectaries to
believe in even ante-natal attainment of Arahantship.3 They, hold
further, seeing the wonderful feats, such as levitation, etc., that are
experienced in dreams, that the dreamer may not only penetrate the
Truth, but also attain Arahantship.
In all three cases the argument is simply a restatement
of XXII. 4, §3.

6 . Of the Unmoral.
Controverted Point.—That all dream-consciousness is
ethically neutral.
From the Commentary.—From the "Word, ' There is volition, and
that volition is negligible,'4 some—that is, certain of the Uttara-
pathakas—hold the aforesaid view. But this was spoken with refer-

This was a favourite legend. See Pss. of the Brethren, lxx. 'Sivali,'
the child-saint in question ; Jataka, No. 100; Udana, ii. 8 ; Dhamma-
pada Commentary, iv. 192 f. Also on the mother, Anguttwra-Nik.,
ii. 62.
The embryonic consciousness carrying the force of previous,
culminating karma into effect. See previous page, n. 1.
Vinaya, iii. 112, commenting on Vinaya Texts, ii. 226. Abbo-
hari-ka (or -ya), i.e., a-voharika , not of legal or conventional

ence to ecclesiastical offences,1 Although a dreamer may entertain
evil thoughts of murder, etc., no injury to life or property is wrought.
Hence they cannot be classed as offences. Hence dream-thoughts are
a negligible quantity, and for this reason, and not because they are
ethically neutral, they may be ignored.2
[1] Th.—You admit, do you not, that a dreamer may
(in dreams) commit murder, theft, etc. ? How then can
you call such consciousness ethically neutral ?
[2] U.—If I am wrong, was it not said by the Exalted
One that dream-consciousness was negligible? If so, my
proposition holds good.

7. Of Correlation by Repetition.3
Controverted Point.—That there is no correlation by
way of repetition.
From the Commentary.—Inasmuch as all phenomena are momen-
tary, nothing persisting more than an instant, nothing can be so
correlated as to effect repetition; hence there never is repetition.
This is also an opinion of the TJttarapathakas.
[1] Th.—But was it not said by the Exalted One : ' The
taking of life, bhikkhus, when habitually practised and multi-
plied, is conducive to rebirth in purgatory, or among animals,
or Petas. In its slightest form it results in, and is conducive
to, a brief life among men[2] And again : ' Theft,
bhikkhus, adultery, lying, slander, uttering harsh words, idle
talkf intoxication, habitually practised and multiplied, are
each and all conducive to rebirth in purgatory, among animals,
or Petas. The slightest theft results in, conduces to destruc-
tion of property; the mildest offence against chastity gives
rise to retaliatory measures among men; the lightest form
of lying exposes the liar to false accusation among men; the
mildest offence in slander leads to a rupture of friendship

Apatti , explained (after an exegetic fashion) as attang pilanang
pajjatiti, ' is come to infliction of punishments.'
Cf. Compendium, pp. 47, 52.
Asevana. See p. 294, n. 2.

among men ; the lightest result of harsh -words creates sounds
jarring on the human ear; the slightest result of idle talk
is speech commanding no respect1 among men ; the mildest
inebriety conduces to want of sanity among men'?2 [3, 4] And
again: ' Wrong views, bhikkhus, wrong aspiration, effort,
speech, activity, livelihood, mindfulness, concentration—each
and all, if habitually practised, developed, and multiplied,
conduce to rebirth in purgatory, among animals, among Petcis
And again: 'Right views, right purpose, etc, habitually
practised, developed, and multiplied, have their base and their
goal and their end in the Ambrosial'?3

8. Of Momentary Duration.
Controverted Point.—That all things are momentary
conscious units.
From the Commentary.—Some—for instance, the Pubbaseliyas and
the Aparaseliyas—hold that, since all conditioned things are imper-
manent, therefore they endure but one conscious moment. Given
universal impermanence—one thing ceases quickly, another after an
interval—what, they ask, is here the law ? The Theravadin shows it
is but arbitrary to say that because things are not immutable, therefore
they all last but one mental moment.
[1] Th.—Do you imply that a mountain, the ocean,
Sineru chief of mountains, the cohesive, fiery, and mobile
elements, grass, twigs, trees, all last [only so long] in con-
sciousness ? You deny. . . .
[2] Or do you imply that the organ of sight coincides4 for
the same moment of time with the visual cognition ? If
you assent, I would remind you of what the venerable
Sariputta said : 'If, brother, the eye within he intact, but the
object 'without does not come into focus, and there is no eo~
ordinated application of mind resulting therefrom, then a cor-
responding state of cognition is not manifested. And if the

Cf. the positive form of this term in Vinaya Texts, iii. 186, § 8.
Anguttara-Nik., iv. 247.
Samyutta-Nik., v. 54, but the word asevito is wanting.
Sahajatang, 'come into being and cease together.'—Comy.

organ of sight within be intact, and the object without come
into focus? but no co-ordinated application of mind result
therefrom, a corresponding state of cognition is not manifested.
But if all these conditions be satisfied, then a corresponding
state of cognition is manifested '?1
Where now is your assertion about coincidence in time ?
[3] The same Suttanta reference may be cited to refute
you with respect to time-coincidence in the other four senses.
[4] P. A.—But are all things permanent, enduring, per-
during, immutable ?
Th.—Nay that cannot truly be said. . . .
Majjhima-Nik., i. 190.


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