The Buddha's First Teachers
At this time in India there
were many religious teachers. One of the best and most
well known was Alara Kalama. Ascetic Gotama went
to study under him. He stayed and was taught many things,
including meditation. He worked hard and eventually equalled
his teacher in learning. Finally Alara Kalama could not
teach Gotama any more and he said, "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."
But Gotama was not interested
in staying. Despite what he had learnt he could see that
he was still subject to old age, sickness, and death and
that his quest was not over.
Thus, Gotama left Alara Kalama
and went in search of a new teacher. At last he found
another great teacher, Uddaka, who was famous for his cleverness.
Again, Gotama learnt very quickly and soon
knew as much as his teacher. He found that Uddaka
could not teach him how to stop suffering, old age
and death either, and he had never heard of anyone who could solve
these problems. Once again the Ascetic Gotama was disappointed
and left Uddaka, making up his mind to struggle by himself
until he found the cause of all the suffering of life.