A group of monks, contemporary with the Buddha, frequently mentioned as being
guilty of various Vinaya offences.
Vin.i.84f, 104, 106, 111, 113, 114, 138, 160, 170, 185, 189, 192, 194, 203f,
216, 285, 306, 316; ii.73, 105ff, 145ff, 213ff, 241, 262, etc.: J. i.191, 217,
360; iii.149; DhA.iii.48f., 330, 382.
Six monks - Assaji,
Lohitaka, Mettiya and Bhummaja - were their
leaders, hence their name.
There were also nuns in their following, who likewise violated the Vinaya
rules in various ways. (Vin.ii.262, 266, 269, 271, 276).
It is said that Assaji and Punabbasu had their headquarters at
Kītāgiri, Mettiya and Bhummaja(ka) at
Rājagaha and Panduka and Lohitaka at
According to the Samantapāsādikā (iii.613f) they were all of
Sāvatthi and all originally acquainted.
Finding a living hard to obtain, they entered the Order under the two Chief
Disciples. They decided among themselves that it was unwise for them all to live
in the same place, and they therefore divided into three groups as mentioned
above. Each group had five hundred monks attached to it. Of the three groups,
the followers of Panduka and Lohitaka were the most virtuous. They remained near
the Buddha, accompanying him on his tours. They did not, like the others,
transgress Vinaya rules.