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The Saṇṇagarikas or Saṇḍagiriyas

All the traditions agree in considering them as the last sect coming from the Vātsiputrīyas. According to the
sources of the north-west, they appeared towards the middle of the 3rd

century C.E.

Their name means ‘those of six (ṣaṣ) cities (nagara)’. It is often interpreted, especially in Chinese, as
aṇḍagiriya, ‘those who dwell on the mountain (giri) of bushes (aṇḍa)’. The Mañjuśrīparipcchāsūtra,
which refers to this last form, interprets it as the name of their residence.584

K’ouei-ki interprets the form
translated by Hiuan-tsang, ‘sect of the mountain of dense forest’, by saying that the Saṇḍagiriyas derived
their name from the place of residence of their teacher, a thick forest, from the luxuriant vegetation and
situated near a mountain.585

According to Paramārtha, the Saṇṇagarikas were one of the four sects that completed the
Abhidharmapiaka of the Vātsīputrīyas, also called Śāriputrābhidharma or Dharmalakaṇābhidharma in
nine parts, by treatises (śāstra), by depending on the meaning of the Sūtras.586

The tradition of the Sammitiyas cited by Bhavya states that opinions were divided on the question whether
the Saṇṇagarikas were attached to the Sannatīyas or to the Mahāgiriyas (Dharmottarīyas and

We do not know the size of their geographic domain. Undoubtedly they lived in the west of India with the
other sects of the same group.

Only Vasumitra and K’ouei-ki tell us a little about their doctrine. They interpreted differently the stanza:
Being already delivered, one chooses anew.
Falling comes from passion; one comes back again.
Having obtained the place of calm joy is happiness.
If one follows the practices of happiness, this is perfect happiness.
According to K’ouei-ki, they interpret it as follows: There are six kinds of wise men (aśaika), i.e.,
Arhant, who are characterized respectively by withdrawal (parihāṇi), cogitation (cetanā), protection
(anurakanā), stability (sthitā), penetration (prativedhanā) and unshakability (akopya); he who is already
delivered is the second one; he who can fall back is the first; he who falls back into the passions as a result
of his fall is the third; he who returns is the fourth; the third line concerns the fifth and the last line the



T. S. 468, p. 501b.


K’ouei-ki: II, p. 7a.


Demiéville: Origine des sectes bouddhiques, pp. 23 and 58.


K’ouei-ki, III, p. 30b.


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