Alara Kalama (Pāḷi Āḷāra Kālāma, Sanskrit: Ārāḍa Kālāpa) 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 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.
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- Wynne 2007, p. 76.
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- "The Buddha's First Teachers". Article on Buddhanet.net. Retrieved 20 April 2012.