The Early Schools of Indian Buddhism Series

in mindfulness •  last month

How the Theravada school dealt with doctrinal points from other schools

The Katha-vatthu — Chapter 7

Part 12

In Part 8 of this series, we looked at the schools that ‘participated’ and ‘did not participate’ in the Third Council of Buddhism, according to the Kathavatthu, the text that deals with the ‘points of controversy’ from schools other than Theravada. As was mentioned in Part 8, the Kathavatthu is classified as a canonical text in the Theravada tradition, as being part of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, although the text has been expanded up until the second century AD, as evidenced by the ‘late’ schools that are mentioned in the text. Likely, the text started out small and was expanded as more controversial viewpoints from other schools were encountered and dealt with as such.

The Kathavatthu includes a total of 217 points of controversy, divided into twenty-three chapters, where each point is associated with one or more schools, although a few are not assigned to any particular school at all. Due to a large number of doctrinal points covered, I have divided this Part 12 of the series into seven chapters, with each chapter covering one or more of the schools and their doctrinal points of ‘controversy.’

The total number of points of ‘controversy’ for each school covered in this chapter:

  • Hetuvadins: 9
  • Vetulyakas (Maha-sunnavadins): 8
  • Not assigned to any school: 11
  • Not assigned to any school (probably Andhakas): 2

Overview of the chapters that cover the various schools:

  • Chapter 1 — Vajjiputtakas, Sammitiyas, Sabbatthivadins
  • Chapter 2 — Kassapikas, Mahasanghikhapter 3 — Andhakas
  • Chapter 4 — Pubbaseliyas
  • Chapter 5 — Aparaseliyas, Rajagirikas, Siddhatthikas, Gokulikas, Bhadrayanikas, Mahimsasakas
  • Chapter 6 — Uttarapathakas
  • Chapter 7 — Hetuvadins, Vetulyakas, Points not assigned to any school, Schools with no points assigned

In this post we’ll be looking at the schools for Chapter 7 — Hetuvadins, Vetulyakas, Not assigned to any school, No points assigned

The given name for the schools in this post follow the Theravada name designation as mentioned in the Kathavatthu text, followed by the Sarvastivada name designation by Vasumitra in his Samaya-bhedoparacanacakra text. The Kathavatthu is divided into twenty-three chapters. Each point of controversy’s headline listed here starts out with the Kathavatthu reference of book (in Roman numerals) and point, i.e., IX. 4 means book nine, point four.

Section 1 — Hetuvadins (9 points of controversy)

The Kathavatthu considers the Hetuvadins to be a non-branching school that originated around 120 BC. The Sarvastivada tradition of Vasumitra has a very different record for this school and shows it as being equal to the Sarvastivada school, branching off from the Sthaviravada around 275 BC.

Point 1 — XV. 5. Of the Intoxicants (asavas)

That the four asavas (intoxicants) are themselves non-asava (non-intoxicants).

The Hetuvadins hold that since over and above the four Intoxicants there is no other Intoxicant with which they can be said to be ‘co-intoxicants,’ therefore they must themselves be ‘non-intoxicant.’

The four intoxicants are: sensuous desires, (lust for) renewed life (rebirth), erroneous opinion, and ignorance.

Point 2 — XV. 7. Of Trance (part 1) (jhana: meditative absorption)

That to attain cessation of consciousness is supra-mundane.

Since what is called (meditative absorption or) attaining cessation of feeling and perception is not a positive mental state but is the suspension of the mental aggregates, it is neither a mundane nor a supra-mundane state. Some, however, like the Hetuvadins, hold that since it is indeed not mundane, it must be supra-mundane.

Point 3 — XV. 10. Of Trance (jhana: meditative absorption) as a Means of reaching the Unconscious Sphere

That meditative absorption conduces to rebirth in the unconscious sphere.

Some, like the Hetuvadins, make no distinction between the two kinds of meditative absorption-attainment: the merely mundane, practiced by worldly folks, and the supra-mundane, or spiritual. The former does conduce to rebirth in the sphere of unconscious life; the latter does not.

Point 4 — XVI. 3. Of making Another Happy according to his Deserts

That one can bestow happiness on others. (note 1)

This view is derived by its adherents, notably the Hetuvadins, from the Sutta quoted below. However, the words of the Exalted One were spoken to show how the arising of happiness in others is conditioned. Producing happiness in others is not like bestowing food upon them; hence the citation is inconclusive.

Note 1: One can bestow the conditions of happiness to some extent, but not the actual state of mind.

Point 5 — XVII. 4. Of suffering (dukkha) and Sentient Organisms

That suffering is wholly bound up with sentience.

Suffering (dukkha) must be understood in two ways: as bound up with and as not bound up with life (Indriya’s), According to the former, suffering is referred to the seat of suffering; according to the latter, suffering covers liability to trouble through the law of impermanence with its ‘coming to be and passing away.’ However, the Hetuvadins, for instance, do not draw this distinction. They hold that painful sentience alone constitutes that dukkha, to understand which the holy life, according to the teachings of the Exalted One, is led.

Point 6 — XVII. 5. Of ‘besides only the Ariyan Path’

That besides only the Ariyan Path, all other conditioned things may be called ‘suffering.’

This is held by such as the Hetuvadins because the Ariyan Path was started by the Exalted One in the Four Truths as ‘a course going to the cessation of suffering.’

Point 7 — XIX. 8. Of the Moral Controlling Powers (five faculties or factors of ‘moral sense’: indriya)

That the five moral controlling powers—faith, effort, mindfulness, concentration, understanding—are not valid as ‘controlling powers’ in worldly matters.

This is an opinion held by some, like the Hetuvadins and Mahimsasakas.

Point 8 — XX. 2. Of Insight

That ‘insight’ is not for the average man.

‘Insight’ (nana) is of two kinds—worldly and spiritual. The former is intellection concerned with various attainments, and in noting the course of karma by way of righteous acts of giving, etc.; the latter is intuition concerned with the Paths and their Fruits, Path-intuition being learned by analysis of truth. (note 1) Now some, like the Hetuvadins, failing to distinguish this, accept only Path-intuition as insight. Hence they deny it in the average man.

Note 1: The instantaneous penetration (ekabhisamaya) of truth by one who has reached the Path is intuitive, but he is also able to analyze truth.

Point 9 — XXIII. 5. Of the Undetermined

That the aggregates, elements, controlling powers—all save suffering, is undetermined (aparinipphanna).

Such is the opinion held by some—for instance, certain of the Uttarapathakas and the Hetuvadins. They reference the following passage:

’Tis simply suffering that rises, simply suffering
That does persist, and then fades away.
Nothing beside suffering it is that does become;
Nothing else but suffering it is does pass away.’ (SN i.135)

Section 2 — Vetulyakas (8 points of controversy)

In my view, the name given to this ‘school’ was not how they would refer to themselves, but instead, it is a disparaging and defamatory term for a Mahayana school of thought, to deal with the points that they held. The fact that they are also being referred to as Maha-Sunnatavadins (the great emptiness school) is a good indicator that this is a Mahayana school. However, in the view of the Theravada, the Maha-sunnata is not ‘great,’ it is deemed ‘wrong emptiness’ (ayoga-sunnata).

The term Vetulyaka in Pali or Vaitulika in Sanskrit means ‘the doctrine of the Magicians’, and this seems to refer to the doctrine of transcendental nature of the three bodies theory of the Buddha, as well as the doctrine of illusion (Maya).

Point 1 — XVII. 6. Of the Order and the Accepting of Gifts

That it ought not to be said ‘The Order accepts gifts.’

This view is held by those of the Vetulyakas, who is known as the Mahasunnatavadins. They believe that the Order, in the metaphysical sense (paramatthato) of the word, is the Paths and the Fruits. These cannot be said to accept anything.

Point 2 — XVII. 7. Of the Order and the Purifying of Gifts

That it ought not to be said that ‘The Order purifies (visodheti: makes more fruitful) gifts.’

Those who hold the view just discussed in point 1, (also) hold as a corollary that Paths and Fruits are not able to purify gifts.

Point 3 — XVII. 8. Of the Order and Daily Life

That it should not be said that ‘The Order “enjoys,” “eats,” “drinks.”’

The reason and the adherents are the same as point 1.

Point 4 — XVII. 9. Of the Order and the Fruit of Giving

That it should not be said that ‘a thing given to the Order brings great reward.’

The reason and the adherents are the same as point 1.

Point 5 — XVII. 10. Of the Buddha and the Fruit of Giving

That it should not be said that ‘Anything given to the Buddha brings great reward.’

From the same source (Vetulyakas) follow the theory that because the Exalted Buddha did not really enjoy anything, but only seemed to be doing so out of conformity to life here below, nothing given to him was beneficial to him.

Point 6 — XVIII. 1. Of the Buddha and this World

That it is not right to say ‘The Exalted Buddha lived in a world of mankind.’

Some, like the Vetulyakas (Mahasunnatavadins), carelessly interpreting the Sutta, ‘born in the world, grew up in the world, dwelt, having overcome the world, undefiled by the world,’ hold that the Exalted One, when born in the heaven of Delight (tusita-bhavana), dwelt there while visiting this world only in shape specially created. Their citation of the Sutta proves nothing, since the Master was undefiled, not by being out of the world, but by the corruptions of heart concerning the things in the world.

Point 7 — XVIII. 2. Of how the Norm (dhamma) was Taught

That it is not right to say ‘The Exalted Buddha himself taught the Norm (dhamma).’

This is another point in the other heresy by the Vetulyakas. The created shape taught the Dhamma on earth to the Venerable Ananda, while the Exalted One lived in the city of Delight and sent forth that shape.

Some, for instance, the Vetulyakas hold that, while the Exalted One dwelt in the city Tusita, he created and sent forth a unique configuration for teaching Dhamma. In compliance with his teaching, the venerable Ananda taught Dhamma on earth, but the Exalted Buddha himself did not teach.

Point 8 — XXIII. 1. Of United Resolve

That sexual relations may be entered upon with a united resolve (ekadhippayo).

Such a vow may be undertaken, some think—for instance, the Andhakas and the Vetulyakas—by a human pair who feel mutual sympathy or compassion (not merely passion), and who are worshipping, it may be, at some Buddha-shrine, and aspire to be united throughout their future lives.

About the term ekadhippayo: There is nothing objectionable in the relation so entered upon, except, for a member of the Buddhist Sangha (a monk).

Section 3 — Not assigned to any school (probably Andhakas) (2 points of controversy)

Point 1 — III. 4. Of Emancipation as a Process

That spiritual emancipation is a gradual process of becoming free. (note 1)

The opinion is questioned of those who confuse the emancipation by a partial arrest in the exercise of Jhana with that emancipation by complete severance experienced in a ‘Path-moment.’ They think that the mind, partially liberated by the former, completes its emancipation by the gradual process of the latter.

Note 1: The heresy seems to be analogous to that in point 9 assigned to the Andhakas (discussed in chapter 3), and to involve a misapprehension of the orthodox meaning of the term in question (vimutti: emancipation).

Point 2 — VIII. 6. Of the Arupa-Element (Formless element)

That the ultimate ‘datum, or element’ of arupa is things (cognized as) immaterial.

Here the same method is followed (as in point 36 assigned to the Andhakas, discussed in chapter 3). Instruction is given by taking a specific immaterial notion—feeling—and asking if that is a sphere of life, etc.; thus it is showed that in no case are the two identical.

Section 4 — Not assigned to any school (11 points of controversy)

Point 1 — III. 9. Of Insight into Destiny according to Deeds

That the celestial eye amounts to insight into destiny according to deeds.

This is an opinion arising from a loose interpretation of the Sutta-passage: ‘With purified celestial eye surpassing that of men he sees beings as they pass away from one form of existence and take shape in another . . . he knows their destiny as being according to their deeds,’ (DN i.82) namely that the vision of itself was also an explanation of the things seen.

Point 2 — III. 10. Of Moral Restraint

That there is self-control among devas.

The question is raised concerning the view of those who hold that among the devas, beginning above the Thirty-Three, inasmuch as there was no committal of the five vices (verani: taking life; theft; fornication; false speech, slander, idle speech; drinking liquor), there is self-control.

Point 3 — IV. 5. Of the Arahant’s Indifference in Sense-Cognition

That an Arahant is endowed with six indifferences.

The Arahant is said to be able to call up indifference concerning each of the six gates of sense-knowledge. However, he is not in a state of calling up indifference for all six at the same moment.

In Theravada Buddhism, sensations, however swift in succession, are never simultaneous.

Point 4 — VI. 4. Of the Four Immaterial Spheres of Life and Thought

That the sphere of infinite space is unconditioned.

Because of the passage, ‘the four Immaterial spheres are imperturbable,’ some hold they are all unconditioned.

Point 5 — X. 4. Of Sensations as Moral and Immoral

That the five kinds of sense-consciousness are good and bad (have positive moral quality).

Point 6 — XII. 9. Of him who has reached the Seventh Rebirth (sattamabhavika, sattamaka)

That for a person in the seventh rebirth evil tendencies are eliminated.

Point 7 — XV. 3. Of Duration

That duration is predetermined.

Taking the word duration (addha) in the sense of a period of time, they (the opponents) who hold this opinion base it on a Sutta, where the argument seeks to show that no interval whatever is predetermined, except as momentary time-notion. However, matter, etc., when meaning the five aggregates (bodily and mental) is predetermined.

Point 8 — XV. 4. Of Instants (khana), Moments (laya), Seconds (muhutta) of Time

That any stroke of time is predetermined.

The same argument is followed as in point 7.

10 ‘instants’ (khana) = 1 ‘moment’ (laya); 10 ‘moments’ = 1 ‘second’ (muhutta).

Point 9 — XV. 8. Of Trance (part 2) (jhana: meditative absorption)

That to attain cessation of consciousness is mundane.

Point 10 — XVI. 6. Of Matter and Concomitant Moral Conditions

That material qualities are accompanied by moral conditions.

Point 11 — XXI. 2. Of Experience as Inseparable from Personality

That an ordinary person is not exempt (avivitto: inseparable) from experiencing the phenomena (dhammehi) of all the three spheres of life.

That is to say, at the same moment, since his understanding does not suffice to distinguish the three kinds. Our doctrine only entitles us to say that the individual is inseparable from such (mental) phenomena as arising at present in him.

Section 5. — Schools known to the Theravada, but no doctrinal points associated with these schools

The following eleven schools were known to the Theravada, but the Kathavatthu does not directly attribute any doctrinal points to them.

1. Ekabboharikas (Ekavyavaharika)

One of the branch-schools of the Mahasamghikas, discussed in chapter 2 of part 12 of this series. In doctrine, this school was very close to that of the Mahasamghikas, where it is likely that they did not stand out enough as a school to assign particular and unique doctrinal points to them. They were so called because they held that all the doctrines are understood by a unique and immediate wisdom, for all the doctrines of the Buddha are comprehended by the intellect, and are for this reason called ‘Disciples of the dispute on one subject,’ (eka-vyavahara). Vasumitra, the Sarvastivada, also groups this school with the Mahasamghikas.

2. Pannattivadins (Prajnaptivada)

One of the branch-schools of the Gokulikas, discussed in chapter 5 of part 12 of this series. Their name means the Conceptualist school, who held that all suffering in life is absolute, and misery is enmeshed with all manifested things. Vasumitra assigns seven doctrines to this school.

3. Bahulikas (Bahusrutiya)

One of the branch-schools of the Gokulikas, discussed in chapter 5 of part 12 of this series. The Dipavaṃsa calls the adherents of this school Bahusuttaka. According to Tibetan sources, they derived their name from their teacher, Bahusrutiya. Vasumitra assigns two doctrines to this school.

4. Cetiyavadins (Caityasaila)

One of the branch-schools of the Gokulikas (branched off from the Bahulikas), discussed in chapter 5 of part 12 of this series. This school derives its name from having dwelt on the Caitya mountain. Vasumitra groups this school together with the Aparasaila (Pubbaseliyas, discussed in chapter 4) and Uttarasaila (Aparaseliyas, discussed in chapter 5) schools.

5. Channagarikas (Channagirika)

One of the branch-schools of the Vajjiputtakas, discussed in chapter 1 of part 12 of this series. The name of this school is somewhat of a mystery, as it means ‘those coming from six towns,’ but we are not clear what these towns were called. Vasumitra assigns one doctrinal point to this school, and groups it together with the Dhammuttariyas, Bhadrayanikas, and Sammitiyas schools.

6. Dhammuttariyas (Dharmottariya)

Another one of the branch-schools of the Vajjiputtakas, discussed in chapter 1 of part 12 of this series. They were so called after their teacher, Dhammuttara. Their teachings were very similar to their central school of the Vatsiputriya. Vasumitra assigns one doctrinal point to this school, and groups it together with the Channagarikas, Bhadrayanikas, and Sammitiyas schools.

7. Dhammaguttikas (Dharmaguptika)

One of the branch-schools of the Mahimsasakas, discussed in chapter 5 of part 12 of this series. The name of this school means the Guardians of the teachings (dharma). They had their own Vinaya text, and they were called after their leader, Dharmagupta. The Dharmagupta Vinaya is used in both China and Tibet today. Vasumitra assigns five doctrines to this school.

8. Sankantikas (Sautrantika = Samkrantika)

One of the branch-schools of the Kassapikas, discussed in chapter 2 of part 12 of this series. The followers of this school declare ‘I take Ananda as my preceptor.’ What this means is, that they only adhere to the teachings of the sutras, as Ananda recited the Sutra basket (pitaka) at the First Buddhist Council. They do not accept the Abhidharma basket as the teachings of the Buddha. Vasumitra assigns five doctrines to this school.

9. Suttavadins (branch school from 8. Sankantikas)

One of the branch-schools of the Kassapikas (branched off from the Sankantikas), discussed in chapter 2 of part 12 of this series. Their teachings were close or identical to the Sankantikas. Vasumitra does not mention this school at all.

10. Hemavatikas (Haimavata)

Vasumitra considers the Hemavatikas a sub-sect from the Sthavira school that branched off around 275 BC. This view is very different from the Theravada tradition, which identifies the Hemavatikas as a non-branching school that originated around 120 BC. In the Theravada tradition, according to the Mahavamsa, this school was situated in the Jamudipa region, and they were so called because they lived on Mount Himavata (in the Himalayas). Vasumitra assigns five doctrines to this school.

11. Vajiriyas

The Kathavatthu considers the Vajiriyas to be a non-branching school that originated around 100 BC. The Sarvastivada tradition of Vasumitra has no record of this school at all.

The Dipavamsa calls this school Apararajagarika, which might indicate this school’s name being very similar to the Rajagirikas and Aparaseliyas schools (discussed in chapter 5 of part 12 of this series) that are mentioned in the Kathavatthu as part of the Andhaka schools that originated around 275 AD.

This concludes the seven chapters of part 12 of this series.

In the next article, we will discuss how the Sarvastivada school dealt with the doctrinal points from other Buddhist schools, as recorded by Vasumitra.


Pictures From Pixabay



I will flag comment spam at 1% strength. If you keep on spamming my post, I will flag you at 100%. I don't care if you have limited English abilities, write a couple of sentences about this article, no copy-paste, please. I will flag: one sentence comments, links to your blog and begging for up-votes and follows. Also, I will flag comments that have nothing to do with my blog's article. I will also check your comment section to see if you have been comment spamming on other blogs.


Pictures From Pixabay



I will flag comment spam at 1% strength. If you keep on spamming my post, I will flag you at 100%. I don't care if you have limited English abilities, write a couple of sentences about this article, no copy-paste, please. I will flag: one sentence comments, links to your blog and begging for up-votes and follows. Also, I will flag comments that have nothing to do with my blog's article. I will also check your comment section to see if you have been comment spamming on other blogs.

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

I have two questions
Section 1

  • Point 1 — XV. 5. Of the Intoxicants (asavas). In what way rebirth is an intoxicant?
  • Point 2 — XV. 7. Of Trance (part 1) (jhana: meditative absorption). I thought that meditation was positive
Loading...
·

@marcusantoniu26, meditation as a positive must be "Right Samadhi." I will explain it to you the way my vipassana teacher taught me. There is kitty meditation, the cat is meditating on the mouse and will be full of desire to eat the mouse but wholly absorbed in catching that mouse. We are in meditative states all day and throughout sleep. To wake up, we must learn how to stay away through right learning to train our mind to stay aware if the object without clinging to that object, and eventually we can let go of object meditation and expand our awareness, which I have seen has no edges, there is nothing to rest on and can be frightening. I don't have time for quotes, but if you remind me next article, I will expand on this view of clinging to nothing and correct or right concentration and samadhi.

If you have noticed when time seizes to exist during deep concentration when you are performing a task this can also happen when meditating but the difference is the mind has been trained not to cling to the object of meditation or the experience. This is the right concentration.

·
·

The example of the cat and mouse is very illustrating. There is meditation and "meditation"

So insight is not for the average man and giving happiness to others is like giving food. So apparently not everyone is granted insight. That's kind of sad. The idea of giving happiness to others is like giving food is a neat idea. Thanks for sharing @reddust

·

We can experience insight all the time, but insight into reality as it is takes training and disciplining the mind. We have to learn to let go of the veils of conditioning my friend @enjoywithtroy, this is how my Christian and Muslim friends can hear the voice of their God and not the sound of their ego (hugs). As you have seen from my Sufi friends, have ancient unbroken lineage teachers that teach them how to let go of their desire so they can clearly see and hear God without their ignorance and desires getting in the way. I don't know if there is an esoteric Christian lineage, because of a thousand years of hunting Christians the lineage may be broken or hiding. It would be interesting to see if there is an unbroken lineage of Christian meditators still existing. I would ask if their teachers could teach me!

First time I saw any of your post. It this a marvelous document on Buddhism. I like teaching of Buddha. The middle path of his is the milestone in philosophy.
Now, I am following you.

·

Thank you @akdx, I hope you enjoy the collaboration between my husband and me, we have truly enjoyed writing, editing and researching for these articles. The middle way is the only way out of self-caused suffering ;-)

GREAT READING

Excellent stuff. Very interesting and informative read. Looking forward to the next part in the series!

wow! I am impressed, such a detailed article! thanks for sharing! honestly, sometimes it was hard to read in the case of all these names, but super interesting to learn something new, which I haven't known before.

Very good content!

Wao very great history.....great points...such a wonderful buildings....study is more important in our life....very informative history...i read your All posts...your All post are so good...thanks for sharing.

First time reading, did not even know buddhism was popular in India

if I have to choose for some religion I choose this one it's who have less dead in the past ...