The clan to which Ambaṭṭha-mānava belonged. The Kaṇhāyana-gotta was probably one of its chief sections, or, perhaps, the family of its original ancestors. In the Buddha’s time the clan was evidently considered very aristocratic, at least by its own members, for they looked down upon even the Sākyā as scourings from their kinsmen’s feet, though the Sākyā themselves seem to have laughed at the pretensions of the Ambaṭṭhas (See Ambaṭṭha-mānava). Nor were the Ambaṭṭhas brahmins by birth; some of them were farmers and traders and some even sold their daughters for gold.¹
The Ambaṭṭhas were of an old stock and were well-known. Besides the Ambaṭṭha-mānava mentioned above, another called Sūra Ambaṭṭha, is spoken of in the Piṭakas (e.g., A.i.26; iii.451).
¹ J.iv.363; they were called brahmins by courtesy (vohāravasena), J.iv.366. According to the Mānavadhammaśāstra, they were not sprung from Kṣatriya father and a slave (presumably Śūdra) mother, as given in the Ambaṭṭha Sutta, but from a brahmin father and a Vaisya mother.