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Alara Kalama (IAST Ārāḷa Kālāma) was a hermit saint and a teacher of ancient meditation. He was the specialist of Samkhya philosophy. According to the Pāli Canon scriptures, he was the first teacher[clarification needed] of Gautama Buddha.
After Gautama became an ascetic, he went to Alara Kalama, who was a teacher that taught a kind of early samkhya at Vessali. Alara taught Gautama Buddha meditation, especially a dhyānic state called the "sphere of nothingness" (Pali: ākiñcaññāyatana).
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." Gautama was not interested in staying. After leaving, the Buddha found a new teacher, Uddaka Ramaputta.
- Wynne 2007, p. 10.
- Laumakis, Stephen. An Introduction to Buddhist philosophy. 2008. p. 8
- Upadhyaya, K. N. (1971). Early Buddhism and the Bhagavadgita. Dehli, India: Motilal Banarsidass. p. 95. ISBN 978-8120808805.
- "Ariyapariyesana Sutta,translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu". Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- Eliade, Mircea (2009). Yoga: Immortality and Freedom. New Jersey, USA: Princeton University Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-0691142036.
- Wynne 2007, p. 76.
- "Ālāra Kālāma". Article on Palikanon.com. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- "The Buddha's First Teachers". Article on Buddhanet.net. Retrieved 20 April 2012.