On why the Buddhist epistemologist does not want to ‘wriggle like an eel’

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It is often assumed that Buddhism, in its condemnation of attachment to some forms of knowledge is in some ways a form of scepticism. While there are some similarities there is also a clear condemnation of those who deny a valid means of gaining knowledge. Indeed, one can perhaps suggest a certain uneasiness with its own epistemology being compared to a sceptical one. This notion is epitomised by the view attributed to Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta in the Sāmaññaphala-sutta.

 

In the Sāmaññaphala-sutta (D I 47-86) King Ajātasattu asks six teachers to ‘point to such a reward visible here and now as a fruit of the homeless life’.[1] There are two things one may observe about the nature of the exchange in this Sutta. First, in a similar way that the Buddha refuses to answer certain questions, the six teachers appear to be unwilling to answer questions about the nature of action and the effects of actions. Second, as the Buddha sometimes refuses to answer questions of an ontological nature, so the six teachers, in a sense, will only answer (or evade) questions of an ontological nature. In the Sāmaññaphala-sutta the Buddha’s answer to King Ajātasattu suggests that action influences the realisation of knowledge (D I 62-85). His answer suggests the interplay of conduct and knowledge, the answers of the six teachers deny this, hence they are wrong-views.

 

On being asked the fruits of the homeless life, Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta, the last of the six teachers to be interrogated by King Ajātasattu in the Sāmaññaphala-sutta answered in the following way:

 

“If you ask me: ‘Is there another world?’ — if I thought there is another world, I would declare that there is. I do not take it thus, I do not say it is true, I do not say it is otherwise, I do not say it is not so, I do not say it is not not so.

Similarly, when asked any of the following questions, he resorts to the same evasive statements and to endless equivocation:

‘Is there no world beyond?’ ‘Is it that there both is and is not a world beyond?’ ‘Is it that there neither is nor is not a world beyond?’ ‘Are there beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Are there no beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Is it that there both are and are not beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Is it that there neither are nor are not beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Is there fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Is there no fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Is it that there both is and is not fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Is it that there neither is nor is not fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata exist after death?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata not exist after death?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata both exist and not exist after death?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata neither exist nor not exist after death?’”[2]

 

In the Sāmaññaphala-sutta this formula is, as I have indicated, attributed to Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta. These views are not given a name. The sutta states that when Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta was asked the fruits of the homeless life he ‘replied by equivocating’ (vikkhepaṃ vyākāsi, D I 57). In the Brahmajāla-sutta are found the wrong-views of the ‘four endless equivocators'(or ‘eel-wrigglers’ cattāro amarā-vikkhepikā) which are very similar to the wrong-view of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta.

The views of the endless equivocators

There are four views found in the Brahmajāla-sutta (D I 1-46) called the views of the ‘four endless equivocators’ (cattāro amarāvikkhepikā). These are the views of those who avoided answering questions:

 

The first three views begin with:

Herein, bhikkhus, some recluse or brahmin does not understand as it really is what is wholesome and what is unwholesome. He thinks: ‘I do not understand as it really is what is wholesome and what is unwholesome. If, without understanding, I were to declare something to be wholesome or unwholesome:

 

View 1: my declaration might be false. If my declaration should be false, that would distress me, and that distress would be an obstacle for me.’ Therefore, out of fear and loathing of making a false statement, he does not declare anything to be wholesome or unwholesome.

 

View 2: desire and lust or hatred and aversion might arise in me. Should desire and lust or hatred and aversion arise in me, that should be attachment on my part. Such attachment would distress me, and that distress would be an obstacle for me.’ Therefore, out of fear and loathing of attachment, he does not declare anything to be wholesome or unwholesome.

 

Thie third view takes a slightly different form:

View 3: Now there are recluses and brahmins who are wise, clever, experienced in controversy, who wander about demolishing the views of others with their wisdom. If, without understanding, I were to declare something to be wholesome or unwholesome, they might cross-examine me about my views, press me for reasons, and refute my statements. If they should do so, I might not be able to reply. If I could not reply, that would distress me, and that distress would be an obstacle for me.’ Therefore, out of fear and loathing of being cross-examined, he does not declare anything to be wholesome or unwholesome.

 

All views (including the fourth view) conclude with:

But when questioned about this or that point, he resorts to evasive statements and to endless equivocation: ‘I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that it is neither this nor that.’ [3]

 

The fourth view takes a slightly different form:

View 4: Herein, bhikkhus, some recluse or brahmin is dull and stupid. Due to his dullness and stupidity, when he is questioned about this or that point, he resorts to evasive statements and endless equivocation:’ ‘If you ask me whether there is a world beyond—if I thought there is another world, I would declare that there is. But I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that it is neither this nor that.

 

Similarly, when asked any of the following questions, he resorts to the same evasive statements and to endless equivocation:

 

‘Is there no world beyond?’ ‘Is it that there both is and is not a world beyond?’ ‘Is it that there neither is nor is not a world beyond?’

 

‘Are there beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Are there no beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Is it that there both are and are not beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Is it that there neither are nor are not beings spontaneously reborn?’

 

‘Is there fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Is there no fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Is it that there both is and is not fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Is it that there neither is nor is not fruit and result of good and bad actions?’

 

‘Does the Tathāgata exist after death?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata not exist after death?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata both exist and not exist after death?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata neither exist nor not exist after death?’ D I 24-28. [4]

 

These views are the views of the endless equivocators. The first view claims knowledge is a ‘moral danger’ and a ‘source of remorse’.[5] The second view sees ‘attachment’ (upadāna) as the danger, which will lead to ‘mental disquietude’ (vighāta).[6] The third view states that fear of debating, which may lead to argument or interrogation (anuyogabhayā), is the danger.[7]Hence, falsehood, involvement and debate are the things to be avoided by these three positions. [8] The final view is somewhat different. It is identical to that attributed in the Sāmaññaphala-sutta to Sañjaya Bellaṭṭhiputta. A central theme of all four views is the expression: ‘I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that it is neither this nor that’.[9] Watanabe points out that the Buddhist tradition has explained this clause as containing both four and five answers.[10] This expression is found alone in the following:

 

Again […] a certain teacher is dull and confused. Because he is dull and confused, when he is asked such and such a question, he engages in evasive statements and to endless equivocation: ‘I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that it is neither this nor that.’[11]

 

This passage from the Sandaka-sutta is described as one of four kinds of ‘holy life without consolation’ (anassāsikaṃ brahmacariyam akkhātaṃ M I 520).[12]

 

These are the views of those who avoid answering questions. In general the endless equivocators held that there was a ‘moral danger’ (antarayo) in making truth claims. The moral danger perceived was worry or remorse (vighāto). Jayatilleke has noted a ‘superficial similarity’ between these ideas and those of the Buddha.[13] Some have found in this an expression of a spiritual path.[14] Though the view of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta does not express this sense of despondency with debate and the making of truth claims, it is in this context that I think the view should be considered. He endlessly wriggles, like an eel, as do the views condemned in the Brahmajāla-sutta. And anyone with even a passing interest in the history of Buddhist thought might think the Buddhist epistemologist, seeking to explain knowledge and truth is also prone to some philosophical equivocation. In this context it is not surprising that, given the opportunity, scepticism is condemned in both the Brahmajāla-sutta and the Sāmaññaphala-sutta.

 

Notes

[1]sakkā nu kho […] evaṃ diṭṭheva dhamme sandiṭṭhikaṃ sāmaññaphalaṃ paññāpetun ti, D I 52 ff.

[2] atthi paro loko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi paro loko ti iti ce me assa, atthi paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n’ atthi paro loko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n atthi paro loko ti iti ce me assa, n’ atthi paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi ca n’ atthi ca paro loko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi ca n’ atthi ca paro loko ti iti ce me assa, atthi ca n’ atthi ca paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. nevatthi na n’ atthi paro loko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, nevatthi na n’ atthi paro loko ti iti ce me assa, nevatthi na n’ atthi paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi sattā opapātikā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce me assa, atthi sattā opapātikā’ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi ca n’ atthi ca sattā opapātikā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sattā opapātikā ti iti ce me assa, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sattā opapātikā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā’ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. nevatthi na n’ atthi sattā opapātikā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, nevatthi na n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce me assa, nevatthi na n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce me assa, atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce me assa, n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi ca n’ atthi ca sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce me assa, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti’pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. nevatthi na n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, nevatthi na n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko’ti iti ce me assa, nevatthi na n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā’ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. na hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, na hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, na hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. hoti ca na hoti ca Tathāgato param maraṇā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, hoti ca na hoti ca Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, hoti ca na hoti ca Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. neva hoti na na hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, neva hoti na na hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, neva hoti na na hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti’pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no ti, D I 58-59.

[3] The first three views begin with:

idha bhikkhave ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā idaṃ kusalan ti yathābhūtaṃ na ppajānāti. idaṃ akusalan ti yathābhūtaṃ na ppajānāti. tassa evaṃ hoti: ahaṃ kho idaṃ kusalan ti yathābhūtaṃ na ppajānāmi. idaṃ akusalan ti yathābhūtaṃ na ppajānāmi. ahañ c’ eva kho pana idaṃ kusalanti yathābhūtaṃ na appajānanto, idaṃ akusalan ti yathābhūtaṃ na appajānanto, idaṃ kusalan ti vā vyākareyyaṃ, idaṃ akusalan ti vā vyākareyyaṃ, tattha me assa chando vā rāgo vā doso vā paṭigho vā. yattha me assa chando vā rāgo vā doso vā paṭigho vā.

View 1: taṃ mam assa musā. yaṃ mam assa musā, so mam assa vighāto. yo mam assa vighāto, so mam assa antarāyo ti. iti so musāvādabhayā musāvādaparijegucchā n ev idaṃ kusalanti vyākaroti. na pan idaṃ akusalan ti vyākaroti.

View 2: tattha me assa chando vā rāgo vā doso vā paṭigho vā. yattha me assa chando vā rāgo vā doso vā paṭigho vā, taṃ mam assa upādānaṃ. yaṃ mam assa upādānaṃ, so mam assa vighāto. yo mam assa vighāto, so mam assa antarāyo ti. iti so upādānabhayā upādānaparijegucchā n ev idaṃ kusalan ti vyākaroti. na pan idaṃ akusalan ti vyākaroti.

View 3: santi hi kho pana samaṇabrāhmaṇā paṇḍitā nipuṇā kataparappavādā vālavedhirūpā vobhindantā maññe caranti paññāgatena diṭṭhigatāni, te maṃ tattha samanuyuñjeyyuṃ samanugāheyyuṃ samanubhāseyyuṃ. ye maṃ tattha samanuyuñjeyyuṃ samanuyuñjeyyuṃ samanuyuñjeyyuṃ, tesāhaṃ na sampāyeyyaṃ. yesāhaṃ na sampāyeyyaṃ, so mam assa vighāto. yo mam’ assa vighāto, so mam’ assa antarāyo ti. iti so anuyogabhayā anuyogaparijegucchā n ev idaṃ kusalan ti vyākaroti. na pan idaṃ akusalan ti vyākaroti.

All views (including the fourth view) conclude with:

tattha tattha pañhaṃ puṭṭho samāno vācāvikkhepaṃ āpajjati amarāvikkhepaṃ: evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no ti.

[4] View 4: idha bhikkhave ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā mando hoti momūho. so mandattā momūhattā tattha tattha pañhaṃ puṭṭho samāno vācāvikkhepaṃ āpajjati amarāvikkhepaṃ: atthi paro loko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi paro loko ti iti ce me assa, atthi paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n’ atthi paro loko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n’ atthi paro loko ti iti ce me assa, n’ atthi paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi ca n’ atthi ca paro loko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi ca n’ atthi ca paro loko ti iti ce me assa, atthi ca n’ atthi ca paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce maṃ assa, atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce me assa, n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi ca n’ atthi ca sattā opapātikā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sattā opapātikā ti iti ce me assa, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sattā opapātikā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. nevatthi na n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n ev atthi na n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce me assa, n ev atthi na n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce me assa, atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce me assa, n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi ca n’ atthi ca sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko iti ce me assa, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n ev atthi na n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n ev atthi na n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce me assa, n’ ev’ atthi na n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipākoti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. na hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, na hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, na hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. hoti ca na hoti ca tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, hoti ca na hoti ca tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, hoti ca na hoti ca tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n eva hoti na na hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n’ eva hoti na na hoti tathāgato paraṃ maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, n eva hoti na na hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no, D I 24-28.

[5] Jayatilleke, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, p. 120, Dutt, Early Monastic Buddhism, pp. 51-2.

[6] Jayatilleke, ibid., p. 127.

[7] Jayatilleke, ibid. p. 128-9.

[8] See Warder’s discussion, Outline of Indian Philosophy, p. 45.

[9] evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no.

[10] Four clauses by not counting the first phrase evam pi me no. Watanabe, Philosophy and its Development in the Nikāyas and Abhidhamma, p. 89. Watanabe gives as his reference Sumaṇgalavilāsinī,115-6.

[11] puna ca paraṃ [] idh’ ekacco satthā mando hoti momūho, so mandattā momūhattā tathā tathā pañhaṃ puṭṭho samāno vācāvikkhepaṃ āpajjati amarāvikkhepaṃ: evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi no. M I 520-521.

[12] The other three are those who claim ‘omniscience’ (sabbaññū), the ‘traditionalist’ (anussaviko), and the third the ‘reasoner’ and ‘enquirer’ (takkī, vīmaṃsī). These can of course be compared to the four ways which ‘negate the living of the holy life’ cited in chapter two. These four kinds of holy life without consolation are evaluated in a more positive way than the previous group of four. Those who claim omniscience are most likely Jains, the anussaviko is surely an allusion to the Brahmanic tradition, the takkī/vīmaṃsī are familiar as a way of arriving at a viewpoint from the Brahmajāla-sutta.

[13] Jayatilleke, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, p. 474; see also Steven Collins, Selfless Persons, p. 128.

[14] Jayatilleke, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, pp. 124, 128-9; A.K. Warder, Outline of Indian Philosophy (Delhi, 1971), pp. 45-46; B. M. Barua, Pre-Buddhistic Indian Philosophy (Calcutta, 1921), p. 326; G. C. Pande, Studies in the Origins of Buddhism (Allahabad, 1957),p. 350. Pande thinks that, at the very least, this scepticism is based upon ‘critical considerations’.

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