One of six eminent teachers, contemporary with the Buddha;
he is described as a heretic (annatitthiya, E.g., S.i.66).
He was leader of a
sect known as the Nigantha, and a summary of his teachings is found in the
Samannaphala Sutta (D.i.57; DA.i.166).
A Nigantha is restrained with a fourfold restraint (catuyama
he is restrained as regards all water,
restrained as regards all evil,
all evil has he washed away, and
he lives suffused with the sense of evil held at bay.
And, because of this fourfold restraint,
he is called a Nigantha (free from bonds),
gatatta (one whose heart has been in the attainment of
yattala (one whose heart is under command) and
thitatta (one whose heart is fixed).
The meaning of this fourfold restraint is not clear; for a
discussion of this catuyama samvara, see Barua: Pre Buddhistic Indian
Philosophy, pp. 378f. The first in evidently the well known rule of the Jains
against drinking cold water, as it contains souls (cp. Mil.259ff). The Buddha
taught a corresponding fourfold restraint, which consisted of observing the four
precepts against injury, stealing, unchastity and lying (D.iii.48f.)
Nataputta is also stated (*1) to have claimed omniscience-
to be all knowing, all seeing, to have all comprising (aparisesa) knowledge and
vision. Whether I walk or stand or sleep or wake, he is mentioned as saying,
my knowledge and vision are always, and without a break, present before me.
(*1) E.g., M.ii.31; A.i.220; M.i.92f.;also M.ii.214ff.
It is curious, in view of this statement of Nataputtas doctrine of inaction,
that the main ground on which he is stated to have objected to Sihas visit to
the Buddha, was that the Buddha was an akiriyavadi (A.iv.180).
He taught that past deeds should be extirpated by severe
austerities, fresh deeds should be avoided by inaction. By expelling through
penance all past misdeeds and by not committing fresh misdeeds, the future
became cleared. From the destruction of deeds results the destruction of dukkha;
this leads to the destruction of vedana. Thus all dukkha is exhausted and one
passes beyond (the round of existence). It is said* that Nataputta did not
employ the term kamma in his teaching; he used, instead, the word danda; and
that, according to him, the danda of deed was far more criminal than the dandas
of word and mind.
* M.i.371. Danda probably means sins or hurtful acts.
Buddhaghosa says (MA.ii.595ff.) that the Jain idea was that citta (the
manodanda) did not come into bodily acts or into words which were
irresponsible and mechanical, like the stirring and sighing of boughs in the
He is said to have shown no hesitation in declaring the
destinies of his disciples after death (S.iv.398);