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Aṭṭhaka

1. Aṭṭhaka.– A celebrated sage, composer and reciter of sacred runes, mentioned together with nine others,¹ as the ancient rsis of the brahmins. They abstained from food at unseasonable times. They were the first teachers of the Tevijja Brahmins ² and great sacrifices were conducted by them

Various teachings are attributed to them, e.g. that they recognised five kinds of Brahmins — brahmasama, devasama, mariyāda, sambhinnamariyāda, and brāhmaṇacaṇḍāla.⁴ These sages did not claim to have discerned and realised the five qualities — truth, austerities, chastity, study, and munificence — specified by the brahmins for the attainment of merit and the achievement of what is right,⁵ though their followers behaved as if they did. Nor did they claim that they personally saw and knew that “here alone resides the truth and everything else is vain.” ⁶ In the Vimānavatthu Commentary it is said that the Buddha had realised those things of which these sages thought and for which they wished.⁷

It is said that Aṭṭhaka and the other seers had the divine-eye and had incorporated the teachings of Kassapa Buddha into their own scriptures. Thus (at that time) the three Vedas were in conformity with the Dhamma. However, later the brahmins went back on these teachings.⁸

Aṭṭhaka is generally identified with Aṣṭaka mentioned as the author of Ṛg-veda x.104, unless the name be taken as a corrupt reading under which some representation of Atri may lurk.⁹

¹ Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamataggi, Aṅgirasa, Bhāradvāja, Vāseṭṭha, and Bhagu. Vin.i.245; D.i.104; DA.i.273.

² D.i.238. ³ A.iv.61. A.iii.224 ff. M.ii.199‑200. M.ii.169.

p.265 (Brahmacintitan ti brahmehi Aṭṭhakādīhi cintitaṃ, pañcacakkhunā diṭṭhaṃ).

DA.i.273. VT.ii.130, n.2.

2. Aṭṭhaka.– A King. Mentioned in a list of kings who in times past had been unable to get beyond the domain of sense in spite of making great gifts and holding great sacrifices. J.vi.99.

3. Aṭṭhaka.– A King. Mentioned in a list of former kings who had followed righteousness and who, by waiting diligently on ascetics and recluses, had gone to Sakka’s heaven. J.vi.251.

4. Aṭṭhaka.– A King. When Daṇḍaka, having sinned against Kisavaccha, was destroyed with his realm, three of the subordinate lords within his kingdom — Kaliṅga, Aṭṭhaka, and Bhīmaratha — went to consult the Bodhisatta Sarabhaṅga on the fate of Daṇḍaka and his fellow-sinners. Their doubts were set at rest, and at the end of Sarabhaṅga’s discourse they became free of their sensuality (J.v.135‑49). Sakka himself was present at the interview and asked questions of Sarabhaṅga.

5. Aṭṭhaka.– A Pacceka Buddha. Mentioned in a nominal list. M.iii.70; Ap.i.107.

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