Alara Kalama

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Alara Kalama (Pāḷi Āḷāra Kālāma, Sanskrit: Ārāḍa Kālāpa) was a hermit saint and a teacher of ancient meditation.[1][2][3] He was the specialist of Samkhya philosophy. According to the Pāli Canon scriptures, he was the first teacher of Gautama Buddha.[4]


After Gautama became an ascetic, he went to Alara Kalama, who was a teacher that taught a kind of early samkhya at Vessali.[5] Alara taught Gautama Buddha meditation, especially a dhyānic state called the "sphere of nothingness" (Pali: ākiñcaññāyatana).[6][7]

Gautama eventually equalled Alara, who could not teach him more, saying, "You are the same as I am now. There is no difference between us. Stay here and take my place and teach my students with me."[4] Gautama was not interested in staying. After leaving, the Buddha found a new teacher, Uddaka Ramaputta.[8]


  1. ^ Wynne 2007, p. 10.
  2. ^ Laumakis, Stephen. An Introduction to Buddhist philosophy. 2008. p. 8
  3. ^ Upadhyaya, K. N. (1971). Early Buddhism and the Bhagavadgita. Dehli, India: Motilal Banarsidass. p. 95. ISBN 978-8120808805.
  4. ^ a b "Ariyapariyesana Sutta,translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  5. ^ Eliade, Mircea (2009). Yoga: Immortality and Freedom. New Jersey, USA: Princeton University Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0691142036.
  6. ^ Wynne 2007, p. 76.
  7. ^ "Ālāra Kālāma". Article on Retrieved 2014-06-29.
  8. ^ "The Buddha's First Teachers". Article on Retrieved 20 April 2012.


Wynne, Alexander (16 April 2007). The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-09741-8.