Makkhali Gosala, Makkhali-gosāla: 2 definitions


Makkhali Gosala means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

General definition (in Hinduism)

[«previous next»] — Makkhali Gosala in Hinduism glossary
Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Makkhali Gosala was an ascetic teacher of ancient India, often identified as a leader of the Ajivika movement. He was a contemporary of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, and of Mahavira, the last and 24th Tirthankara of Jainism.

etymology: Makkhali Gosala or Makkhali Gossala (Pāli; BHS: Maskarin Gośāla; Jain Prakrit sources: Gosala Mankhaliputta)

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Makkhali Gosala in Theravada glossary
Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

One of the six heretical teachers contemporaneous with the Buddha. He held (*1) that there is no cause, either ultimate or remote, for the depravity of beings or for their rectitude. The attainment of any given condition or character does not depend either on ones own acts, nor on the acts of another, nor on human effort. There is no such thing as power or energy or human strength or human vigour. All beings (satta), all lives (pana), all existent things (bhuta), all living substances (jiva), (*2) are bent this way and that by their fate, by the necessary conditions of the class to which they belong, by their individual nature; it is according to their position in one or other of the six classes (abhijati) that they experience ease or pain.

There are fourteen hundred thousands of principle genera or species (pamukhayoniyo), again six thousand others and again six hundred. There are five hundred kinds of kamma - there are sixty two paths (or modes of conduct), sixty two periods, six classes among men, eight stages of a prophets existence (atthapurisabhumi), (*3) forty nine hundred kinds of occupation, forty nine hundred Ajivakas, forty nine hundred Wanderers (Paribbajaka), forty nine hundred Naga abodes (or species), two thousand sentient existences (vise indriyasate), three thousand infernal states, thirty six celestial, mundane or passionate grades (rajodhatuyo), seven classes of animate beings (sannigabbha), or beings with the capacity of generating by means of separate sexes, seven of inanimate production (asannigabbha), seven of production by grafting (niganthagabbha), seven grades of gods, men, devils, great lakes, precipices, dreams.

(*1) D.i.53 f. Makkhali, his views and his followers are also referred to at M.i.231, 238, 483, 516f.; S.i.66, 68; iii.211; iv.398; A.i.33f., 286; iii.276, 384; also J.i.493, 509; S.iii.69 ascribes the first portion of the account of Makkhalis views (as given in D.i.53) that there is no cause, no reason for depravity or purity to Purana Kassapa. A.i.286 apparently confounds Makkhali with Ajita Kesakambala, and A.iii.383f. represents Purana Kassapa as though he were a disciple of Makkhali.

(*2) Buddhaghosa (DA.i.160 ff.) gives details of these four classes showing how they are meant to include all that has life on this earth, from men down to plants. But the explanation is very confused and makes the terms by no means mutually exclusive.

(*3) Buddhaghosa gives them as babyhood, playtime, trial time, erect time, learning time, ascetic time, prophet time, and prostrate time, with (very necessary) comments on each.

There are eighty four thousand periods during which both fools and wise alike, wandering in transmigration, shall at last make an end of pain. This cannot be done by virtue, or penance, or righteousness.

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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