THE LIFE OF SAKYAMUNI BUDDHA
13. 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.
EXERCISE 13. The Buddha’s First Teachers
1. Who was Gotama’s first teacher?
2. Why did he leave him?
3. What did the teacher tell Ascetic Gotama?
4. Who did he meet next?