chapter  4
Synthesis: Sautr-ntika
Pages 24

According to later Indian philosophers, Sautrantika, along with Vaibhasika, Madhyamaka and Yogacara, made up the four major Buddhist philosophical schools. The Sautrantika itself never developed into an independent sect as it still shared monastic rules and institutions with the Sarvastivadins, as is observed by Lamotte (1988a: 526): “As for the Sautrantikas, they represented a philosophical movement rather than a homogenous sect: up until now the existence of Sautrantika monasteries has not been attested by any inscriptions. The expressions sutaMtika, sutAtakinI . . . seem to be epithets applied to particular people ‘versed in the Sutras,’ rather than names of sects.” Doctrinally, this school carries on the Sutra-oriented tradition of Samkrantivada (a school that separated from the Sarvastivada about a hundred years after its establishment) and of the Darstantikas (a sub-group of Sarvastivadins active in the Gandhara area around the second and third centuries). But they are distinct from both of their predecessors. They disagree with the Samkrantvadins, who admit the existence of person ( pudgala) in the ultimate level, a doctrinal position akin to that of the Vatsiputriyas, another sub-school of Sarvastivada. They also deviate from the Darstantikas, who still agree with the fundamental tenet of the Sarvastivada, i.e., the existence of things in three times, and thus can still be legitimately called sarva-asti-vAdins (“those who hold all things exist”).