I want to know more about Gautama Siddharta teachers,
I know only little about their philosophy and practice that are mentioned in suttas. (eg. Ariyapariyesana Sutta)

Is there any other texts which explains little more about them.

  • 1
    rht please check cht section 'Buddhsm1' room; pinging rht with @ sign doesnt seem to be going through :)
    – M H
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 2:52

2 Answers 2


Alexander Wynne writes about them in his book, The Origin of Buddhist Meditation. In particular, see chapter 2, which has the following introduction:

In some of the earliest biographies of the Buddha, it is claimed that the Bodhisatta was taught the ‘sphere of nothingness’ by Āḷāra Kālāma and the ‘sphere of neither perception nor non-perception’ by Uddaka Rāmaputta. Since these two persons do not appear outside the early Buddhist literature, their historicity is somewhat dubious. However, the two teachers have an incidental appearance in a number of early Buddhist texts besides the early biographies, and this supports the hypothesis that they really existed. In this chapter I will investigate the historical significance of all these passages; I hope to show that the two teachers really were historical persons, and that they almost certainly taught the Bodhisatta.

and the following conclusion:

In this chapter I have argued that the original (or at least the earliest extant) biographical account of the Bodhisatta’s awakening is found in the Ariyapariyesana Sutta. Its evidence suggests that Āḷāra Kālāma and Uddaka Rāmaputta were historical persons, as was Rāma, the teacher of Rāmaputta. They probably taught the Bodhisatta, although this does not mean that the Bodhisatta did not try other methods. I therefore accept that Āḷāra Kālāma was situated in the vicinity of Kapilavatthu in Kosala as stated in the Bharaṇḍu-Kālāma Sutta, and that the Bodhisatta’s act of renunciation was to join Āḷāra Kālāma's hermitage. Uddaka Rāmaputta was based in Magadha, probably in or near to Rājagaha. The sources for these geographical locations (the Bharaṇḍu-Kālāma Sutta and the Vassakāra Sutta) are trustworthy because the information in them is incidental: they have no hidden agenda. The goals of the two teachers—ākiñcañña(-āyatana) and nevasaññānāsaññā (-āyatana)—were thought by the teachers to be liberating, but the Bodhisatta rejected this. If this analysis is correct, it means that we have a knowledge of some events that occurred in the early part of the Buddha’s career. In the following two chapters, I will attempt to form an hypothesis about the intellectual development of the Buddha based on this historical understanding. In order to do this, it is important to establish the religious affiliation of the two teachers.

  • Can you please add some (main) portion of that article here.
    – threefold
    Commented Sep 18, 2020 at 11:50
  • @rht It's not a standalone article, but a chapter providing groundwork for the subject of the book (the origin of Buddhist meditation). I added key parts of the chapter, and a better link to the pdf.
    – michau
    Commented Sep 18, 2020 at 17:32
  • Thanks for your kind effort for putting it here. But I have some doubt, this reference talks about location of both teachers and gives confirmation from the Bharaṇḍu-Kālāma Sutta and the Vassakāra Sutta , but when I checked these two suttas I couldn't find any relation of there location there.
    – threefold
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 4:23
  • At the end of Bharaṇḍu-Kālāma Sutta, it does say 'Then Bharaṇḍu the Kālāma left Kapilavatthu' and It may be possible Kālāmas are caste or clan name of people at that time, also in Kalama sutta it is mentioned that they they mostly lives in Kesaputta (Kosala) not Kapilavatthu.
    – threefold
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 4:35
  • Actually my intention to ask this question was for understanding their meditation techniques in detail but thanks for your kind effort (you can also add meditation part from that book in your answer -- because that website may get expire in future) and please let me know if I misunderstood anything in above reference that you provided. :)
    – threefold
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 4:46

"Having gone forth in search of what might be skillful, seeking the unexcelled state of sublime peace, I went to Alara Kalama and, on arrival, said to him: 'Friend Kalama, I want to practice in this doctrine & discipline.'


  • I remember reading this sutta earlier but even though thanks for posting, I found something else there which I was looking. :)
    – threefold
    Commented Sep 18, 2020 at 11:45
  • Please provide the link to what you found.
    – SarathW
    Commented Sep 18, 2020 at 21:59
  • I'm not completely sure but reading this sutta I realised that even after practicing dimension of 'nothingness' and 'neither perception nor non-perception' still Siddharta has no insight of past lives etc. After he left these practices he started meditating as he used to when he was child, and after sometime he entered first - second - third - fourth jhana then he got knowledge of past livies etc. But still it doesn't mean we shouldn't practice these two techniques because they have their own importance.
    – threefold
    Commented Sep 19, 2020 at 2:09

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