Ānanda, while staying at the Ghositārāma in Kosambī, visits the Pilakkhaguhā near Devakata pool, where the wanderer Sandaka is staying with some five hundred followers. Ānanda is asked to give a discourse on the Buddha’s teachings, and speaks of the four antitheses to the higher life: there is the teacher who holds that it does not matter whether actions are good or bad; the teacher who holds that no evil is done by him who acts himself or causes others to act; the teacher holding that there is no cause for either depravity or purity; and, lastly, the teacher who holds, among other things, that men make an end of ill only when they have completed their course of transmigrations, like a ball of twine which continues rolling as long as there is string to unwind. On these heresies cf. the Sāleyyaka Sutta. The reference is evidently to the teachings of Pūraṇa Kassapa, Makkhali Gosāla and others.
Ānanda then proceeds to explain the four comfortless vocations: the teacher who claims to be all knowing and all seeing; the teacher whose doctrine is traditional and scriptural; the rationalist of pure reason and criticism teaching a doctrine of his own reasoning; and, lastly, the teacher who is stupid and deficient. Ānanda then describes the Buddha’s own teaching, leading up to the four absorptions (Jhāna). Sandaka and his followers accept the Buddha as their teacher. M.i.513‑24.