Buddha’s First Teacher:
One of the best and most well known was Alara Kalama. Ascetic Gautam 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 Gautam 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 Gautam 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, Gautam 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, Gautam 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 Gautam was disappointed and left Uddaka, making up his mind to struggle by himself until he found the cause of all the suffering of life.