A sect of ascetics in Ceylon, whose particular observance was probably the use of rag robes (pamsukūla). Their early origin is not known, Mānavamma is said to have built for them a pāsāda in the Thūpārāma (Cv.xlvii.66). They also occupied the Rājamātika vihāra and enjoyed the special favour of both Aggabodhi V. and of Aggabodhi VII (Ibid., xlviii.4, 16, 73). Vajira, senāpati of Aggabodhi IX., built for them the Kacchavāla vihāra (Ibid., xlix.80). Sena I. established for them headquarters on the Arittha pabbata and also made special provision for them at Pulatthipura (Ibid., l.63, 76).
They seem to have originally belonged to the congregation of the Abhayagiri vihāra, and continued to do so up to the reign of Sena II., when they separated off and formed special groups (Ibid., li.52). Later, Sena Ilanga, general of Kassapa IV., built the Samuddagiri parivena, in the Mahā vihāra for their use, and it is said that he dispensed rice and clothing to the mothers of the Pamsukulikas (Ibid., Iii.21).
In the time of Udaya III. various officials of the court fled to the tapovana occupied by the Pamsukulikas, but were pursued thither by the king and his viceroy and beheaded. Incensed by this act, the Pamsukulikas left the tapovana, which stood on land granted by the king, and went to Rohana. The people rose in rebellion, and those who had perpetrated the crime in the tapovana visited the Pamsukulikas in Rohana, asked their forgiveness, and persuaded them to return (Ibid., Iiii.14ff., 21ff). Mahinda IV. also showed them great honour (Ibid., liv.18, 24f). We hear of them last in the reign of Vikkamabāhu II., when that king deprived them of their lands, and they, in anger, retired again to Rohana (Ibid., lxi.59f). Thenceforth we hear no more of the sect, and it probably ceased to exist.
It is mentioned in the Anguttara Commentary (AA.i.52f ) that, after the depredations of Candāla Tissa, when the religion was at a very low ebb, a discussion arose between the Pamsukulikas and the Dhammakathīkas as to which was the more important branch of the sāsana pariyatti or patipatti. The Pamsukulikas voted for patipatti, but were defeated by the others.