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Pakudha-Kaccāyana

v.l. Pakudha Kātiyāna, Kakudha Kaccāyana, Kakuda Kātiyāna

Head of one of the six heretical sects of the Buddha’s time. In the Sāmaññaphala Sutta (D.i.56). Ajātasattu is said to have visited him and obtained from him an exposition of his teaching, which was to the effect that the four elements — earth, fire, air, water; pleasure, pain, and the soul — these seven things were eternally existent and unchangeable in their very nature; that there is no volitional activity of consciousness in them. His doctrine is, therefore, one of non-action (akiriya vāda). When one, with a sharp sword, cleaves a head in two, no one is thereby deprived of life, a sword has merely penetrated the interval between seven elementary substances (cf. the doctrine of the Cartesians, that there is no sin in taking the life of lower animals because they have no soul). In other words, there is no such act as killing, or hearing, or knowing, etc; no conceptions of, or distinction between, good and bad, knowledge and ignorance, etc.

Pakudha’s teachings are also referred to in the Sandaka Sutta (M.i.517), and there described at even greater length, but here his name is not mentioned.

Buddhaghosa adds (DA.i.144) that Pakudha avoided the use of cold water, using always hot; when this was not available, he did not wash. If he crossed a stream he would consider this as a sin, and would make expiation by constructing a mound of earth. This is evidence of the ascetic tendency in his teaching on matters of external conduct. His teaching is, however, described as “nissīrikaladdhi” — an heretical view without lustre.

We are told (M.i.250; ii.4) that Pakudha’s followers did not hold him in high esteem, in contrast to the devotion felt for the Buddha by his followers. Pakudha did not welcome questions, and displayed annoyance and resentment when cross-examined. Elsewhere (e.g., M.i.198; S.i.66; SN.p.91) however, he is spoken of as having been highly honoured by the people, a teacher of large and well reputed schools, with numerous followers. However, he did not lay claim to perfect enlightenment (S.i.68).

Pakudha-Kaccāyana’s name is spelt in several ways. Some texts give his personal name as Kakudha, or Kakuda. In the Prasnopanisad (Barus: Prebuddhistic Indian Philosophy, 281; see also Dvy.143; Mtu.i.253, 256, 259; iii.383) mention is made of a Kakuda Kātyāna, a younger contemporary of Pippalāda. There he is called Kabandhin, which name, like Kakuda, means that he had a hump on his neck or shoulder.

Buddhaghosa says (DA.i.144; SA.i.102) that Pakudha was his personal name and Kaccāyana that of his clan (gotta). The Kaccāyana (or Kātiyāna, as it is sometimes called) was a brahmin clan.

Pakudha is mentioned as having been, in a past life, one of the five resorting to views (diṭṭhigatika) mentioned in the Mahābodhi Jātaka (J.v.246). He is also mentioned in the Milindapañha as one of the teachers visited by King Milinda. The whole account is either a plagiarism of the Sāmaññaphala Sutta or else the teachers referred to only belonged to the same respective schools of thought.

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