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Chapter 15: The Great Sages

After he left the town of Rajagaha, Siddhartha went to see the sage Arada Kalama (Ārad̟a Kālāma), one of the wisest men in all the world. Siddhartha showed himself enthusiastic and courageous and very knowledgeable, and Arada Kalama was very happy to take him as a student.

But one day Arada Kalama said to him: “Now you know as much as I do, and you are free to leave. But rather than being my student, and rather than leaving, why not stay and help teach others.”

Siddhartha protested that he had not yet learnt how to avoid the pains of birth, old age, sickness, and death. But Arada Kalama claimed he had taught him all he could. What he had taught him was meditation to make his mind still, but not the knowledge of things of this world and other worlds, or the way to avoid birth, old age, sickness, and death. So Siddhartha left the sage Arada Kalama and continued on his quest.

Eventually Siddhartha heard tell of a great sage named Udraka Ramaputra (Udraka Rāmaputra). Udraka Ramaputra was happy to take the bright and talented former prince as a student. But soon, like Arada Kalama before him, he had to say that he had taught Siddhartha everything he could, and he begged Siddhartha to stay with him to help teach others. Once again Siddhartha was disappointed because he had not learned about birth, old age, sickness, and death. So he left Udraka Rāmaputra and continued on alone.

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