A wanderer (paribbājaka). He once visited the Buddha at Veḷuvana and questioned him regarding predestination. The Buddha explains to him that suffering arises from various causes: bile, phlegm, wind, bodily humour, change of season, stress of untoward happenings, sudden attacks from without and also from one’s kamma, and to say that these are all predestined goes too far.
Sīvaka expresses his approval and declares himself the Buddha’s follower (S.iv.230 f; this Sutta is quoted at Mil. 137). Another conversation he had with the Buddha is recorded in the Aṅguttaranikāya (A.iii.356). There he asks the Buddha if the claims made with regard to the Dhamma are justified. The Buddha proves to him, by illustration, that they are.
Buddhaghosa explains (SA.iii.87) that the wanderer’s name was Sīvaka, his sobriquet being due to his having worn his hair in a topknot.