ajjhāyaka: scholar [of the sacred texts]


Ajjhāyaka means mantajjhāyaka

Ajjhāyaka means ‘one who studies,’ but it is an abbreviation. The full term is shown at M.1.282 to be mantajjhāyaka. Therefore ajjhāyaka means ‘scholar [of the sacred texts].’ This is in accordance with PED which calls it ‘a scholar of the brahmanic texts, a studious, learned person,’ and the DOP, ‘one who studies (the Vedas)’ The Buddha in the following quote implies that it can be applied to his own bhikkhus (because Brahmanists were priests not ascetics), and the term is therefore not restricted to students of brahmanical texts:

• I do not say that the asceticism of a scholar of the sacred texts is merely due to his scholarship of sacred texts.
Nāhaṃ bhikkhave mantajjhāyakassa mantajjhāyakamattena sāmaññaṃ vadāmi (M.1.282).


Illustration: ajjhāyako, scholar [of the sacred texts]

The brahman Doṇa said of himself

• I am a scholar [of the sacred texts] ☸ ajjhāyako

• I know by heart the sacred texts ☸ mantadharo

• I am a master of the three Vedas ☸ tiṇṇaṃ vedānaṃ pāragū (A.3.223).

Illustration: ajjhāyako, scholar [of the sacred texts]

‘Even though brahmans are born into families of scholars [of the sacred texts] and have an intimate relationship with the sacred texts, they are repeatedly found involved in unvirtuous deeds.
Ajjhāyakakule jātā brāhmaṇā mantabandhavā
Te ca pāpesu kammesu abhiṇhamupadissare