Tīrthika (Sanskrit: tīrthika, Pali: titthiya, "ford-maker," meaning one who is attempting to cross the stream of saṃsāra[1]) in Buddhism is a general term referring to heretics or to non-Buddhists in general.[2]

In the Tipitaka, the term titthiya may refer specifically to adherents of Jainism. Whereas a Buddhist takes refuge in the Three Jewels and treads the Middle Way between extremes, a titthiya does not. According to the Asoka Avadhana, the titthiyas that were jealous of Asoka's preaching of Buddhism gathered together and said to each other, "Should this king Asoka continue a worshipper of Buddha, all other persons encouraged by him would likewise become followers of Buddha." They then went to people's houses and declared that their religion is the true religion and that Buddhism gives no moksha.[3]

Tīrthika is associated with the Jain term tirthankara "ford-maker".[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Keown, Damien. Oxford Dictionary of Buddhism (2004), p. 307
  2. ^ Dhammajoti, KL (2007). Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma. Hong Kong: Centre of Buddhist Studies at the University of Hong Kong. p. 259. ISBN 978-988-99296-1-9.
  3. ^ P. 245 Buddha by Manmatha Nath Dutt
  4. ^ Parpola, Asko, 2003. Sacred bathing place and transcendence: Dravidian kaTa(vuL) as the source of Indo-Aryan ghâT, tîrtha, tîrthankara and (tri)vikrama. Pp. 523-574 in: Olle Qvarnström (ed.), Jainism and early Buddhism: Essays in honor of Padmanabh S. Jaini, I-II. Fremont, California: Asian Humanities Press.