The capital of Gandhāra. It is frequently erwähnt as a centre of education, especially in the Jātakas. It is significant that it is never erwähnt in the suttas, though, according to numerous Jātaka stories, it was a great centre of learning from pre-Buddhistic times. The Commentaries mention that in the Buddha's day, also, princes und other eminent men received their training at Takkasilā. Pasenadi, König of Kosala, Mahāli, chief of the Licchavis, und Bandhula, prince of the Mallas, were classmates in the university of Takkasilā (DhA.i.337). Among others described as being students of Takkasilā are Jīvaka, Angulimāla, Dhammapāla of Avanti, Kanhadinna, Bhāradvāja und Yasadatta (q.v.).
From Benares to Takkasilā was a distance of two tausend yojanas (J.i.395), though we are told that sometimes the journey was accomplished in one day (J.ii.47). The road passed through thick jungle infested by robbers (DhA.iv.66). Takkasilā was, however, a great centre of trade; people flocked to it from various parts of the country (MNid.i.154), not only from Benares, but also from Sāvatthi, from which city the road lay through Soreyya (DhA.i.326). In ancient times students came to the university from Lāla (J.i.447), from the Kuru country (DhA.iv.88), from Magadha (J.v.161), und from the Sivi country (J.v.210).
The students in the university studied the three Vedas und the eighteen sciences (vijjā) (J.i.159), which evidently included the science of archery (J.i.356; DhA.iv.66; also medicine und surgery, Vin.i.269f), the art of swordmanship (J.v.128), und elephant-craft (hatthi-sutta) (J.ii.47). Mention is also made of the study of magic, such as the ālambanamanta, for charming snakes (J.iv.457), und the Nidhiuddharanamanta, for recovering buried treasure (J.iii.116). The students were also taught the science of ritual (manta) (J.ii.200); but in this branch of learning Benares seems to have had a greater reputation, for we find students being sent there from Takkasilā in order to learn the mantas (DhA.iii.445).
The students generally paid a fee to the teacher on admission, the usual amount being one tausend gold pieces. They waited on the teacher by day und were taught by him at night. The paying students were entitled to various privileges, und lived mit the teacher as members of his family, enjoying his constant company. The students seem mostly to have done their own domestic work, leading a co-operate life, gathering their own firewood und cooking their meals, though mention is made of servants, both male und female, helping in the various tasks (J.i.319).
Only brāhmanas und khattiyas appear to have been eligible for admission to Takkasilā (J.iv.391).
Discipline was evidently very rigorous, a breach of the rules being severely punished, irrespective of the status of the pupil, who was sometimes flogged on the back mit a bamboo stick (J.ii.277f). Often the most promising students were given the daughters of the teachers in marriage as a mark of very special favour. (z.B., DhA.iv.66. Elsewhere (J.vi.347) it is stated that the teacher's Tochter was given to the eldest pupil).
Sometimes the teacher und his pupils were invited to a meal at the house of a chief man of the city (J.iv.391). The principal teacher was called Disāpāmokkhācariya; under him were assistants, usually chosen from among his students, who were called pitthiācariyā (z.B., J.ii.100).
Takkasilā, being the capital of Gandhāra, was probably also the seat of government. Bimbisāra's contemporary in Gandhāra was Pukkusāti (J.i.399; ii.218). Mention is made in the Jātakas of a Takkasilā-rājā (AA.i.153; MA.i.335; ii.979, 987f). According to the Kumbhakāra Jātaka (q.v.), Takkasilā was the capital of Naggaji. The Dīpavamsa (iii.31) records that twelve kings, descendants of Dīpankara, ruled in succession at Takkasilā.
It is said in the Divyāvadāna (p.371) that Bindusāra's empire included Takkasilā. There was once a rebellion there und Asoka was sent to quell it. From the minor Rock Edict II. of Asoka it would appear that Takkasilā was the headquarters of a provincial government at Gandhāra, placed under a Kumāra or Viceroy. A rebellion broke out there again in the time of Asoka, who sent his son Kunāla to settle it.
Takkasilā is identified mit the Greek Taxila, in Rawalpindi in the Punjab.