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Sañcaya Belaṭṭhiputta

v.l. Sañjaya°.– One of the six famous heretical teachers of the Buddha’s day. He was a great sceptic, his teaching being the evasion of problems and the suspension of judgment. His doctrines seem to have been identical with those of the eel-wrigglers (amarāvikkhepika) who, when asked a question, would equivocate and wriggle like an eel. Sañcaya’s teachings are given at D.i.58; cf. the “Eel-wrigglers” at D.i.27.

It is probable that Sañcaya suspended his judgments only with regard to those questions the answers to which must always remain a matter of speculation. It may be that he wished to impress on his followers the fact that the final answer to these questions lay beyond the domain of speculation, and that he wished to divert their attention from fruitless enquiry and direct it towards the preservation of mental equanimity.

Buddhaghosa gives us no particulars about Sañcaya, beyond the fact that he was the son of Belaṭṭha (DA.i.144). Sanskrit texts call him Sañjayī Vairatiputra (e.g., Mtu.iii.59 f) and Sañjayi Vairattīputra (e.g., Dvy. 143,145).

He is evidently identical with Sañcaya the wanderer (paribbājaka) who was the original teacher of Sāriputta and Mahā-Moggallāna (Vin.i.39). It is said that when these two disciples left Sañcaya to become pupils of the Buddha, they were joined by two hundred and fifty others. Sañcaya then fainted, and hot blood issued from his mouth. Vin.i.42; according to DhA.i.78, Sāriputta and Moggallāna tried to persuade Sañcaya to accept the Buddha’s doctrine, but they failed, and only one half of his disciples joined them. The wanderer (paribbājaka) Suppiya was also a follower of Sañcaya (DA.i.35).

Barua thinks (op.cit., 326) that the Aviruddhakas mentioned in the Aṅguttaranikāya (A.iii.276) were also followers of Sañcaya — that they were called Amarāvikkhepakā for their philosophical doctrines, and Aviruddhakā (= unobstructed, free from any moral constraints? ed.) for their moral conduct.

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