[L. 148 | 158] 27 December 1961

I have indicated the points of difference between us on this question of the ariyapuggalā, and I do not have any doubt that I am right. But if you can give me a Sutta text that clearly shows that I am mistaken I shall not be greatly worried. It is not within my powers to check for myself that all four (or eight) stages are necessarily gone through by all who eventually attain arahattā, nor can I know for myself that there are just four (or eight) stages, no more and no less. And whether or not a sotāpanna is or is not to be called kāyasakkhi, ditthipatto, or saddhāvimutto is, after all, a question of terminology rather than anything else. For all these matters I rely on the Buddha (or the Suttas), since I cannot know them for myself; and if it is pointed out to me that I have misunderstood the Suttas, I am prepared to reconsider my views on this matter. Nothing of any great importance depends upon a person's knowing about the various kinds of ariyasāvakā: what is of importance is that he should become one of them—the rest will follow as a matter of course.

By way of contrast, I remember that a few years ago (at the Hermitage) the question arose whether or not viññāna is included in nāma, and at that time I said in public that if anyone were to show me a Sutta where viññāna definitely was included in nāma I should be extremely upset. (Fortunately nobody did.) The reason for my statement was that as a result of an examination of my own experience (guided also by certain outside philosophers) I had come to the conclusion that it was quite wrong to include viññāna in nāma; this was (and is) a matter wherein I could (by reflexive experience) know for myself what was right and what was wrong; and a Sutta in direct contradiction to my own experience would have been most disturbing.

Perhaps you will see from this distinction that I have made (between what I can know for myself at the present time and what I can not know) why it is that I am unable to make any useful comment on your 'tidy chart' of rūpa. Nearly all of it is quite beyond my present experience and nothing I could say would be anything more valuable than a discussion of certain words. And the same applies, generally, to any argument based upon etymology and Sutta usage. At best I can only indicate Suttas to complete or to correct your scheme. (Thus, I can say that you may find the answer to your question 'Where do the four jhānas belong?' in A. IV,123 & 124.)