Nigantha Nataputta, Nigantha-nāṭaputta: 1 definition


Nigantha Nataputta means something in Buddhism, Pali. 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 Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

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

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 samvara)

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 his aim), 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 wind.

He is said to have shown no hesitation in declaring the destinies of his disciples after death (S.iv.398);

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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