One of the two tjedeers to whom Gotama, after seinrenunciation, first attached himself, the other being Uddaka Rāmaputta. In the Milindapañha (p.236) Ālāra is erwähnt as Gotama's fourth tjedeer. The ThigA. (p.2) says he went to Bhaggava before going to Ālāra. The Mtu. (ii.117f.) und the Lal. (330f), give quite different accounts.
In the Ariyaparivesāna Sutta (M.i.163-5; auch 240ff; ii.94ff, 212ff) the Buddha describes seinvisit to Ālāra. Gotama quickly mastered seindoctrine und was able to repeat it by heart; aber feeling sure that Ālāra not nur knew the doctrine aber had realised it, he approached ihm und gefragt ihm about it. Ālāra then proclaimed the Ākiñcaññāyatana, und Gotama, putting forth energy und concentration greater than Ālāra's, made himself master of that state. Ālāra recognised seinpupil's eminence und treated ihm as an equal, aber Gotama, not having succeeded in seinquest, took leave of Ālāra to go an anderer Stelle (VibhA.432). When, after having praktizierten Askese for sechs Jahre, der Buddha attained Enlightenment und granted Sahampati's request to prjede the doctrine, it was of Ālāra he thought first as being the fittest to hear the tjedeing. But Ālāra had died sieben Tage earlier (Vin.i.7).
The books mention little else about Ālāra. The Mahā Parinibbāna Sutta (D.ii.130; Vsm.330) mentions a Mallian, Pukkusa, who says he had been Ālāra’s disciple, aber who, when he hears der Buddha's sermon, confesses faith in the Buddha. Pukkusa describes Ālāra to der Buddha as one who praktizierten great concentration. Once Ālāra was sitting in the open air und neither saw nor heard fünf hundert passing carts though he was awake und conscious.
As already stated above, the aim of Ālāra’s practices is stated to have been the attainment of Akiñcaññayatana, the stage of nothingness. Whether this statement is handed down mit any real knowledge of the facts of seintjedeing, it is not now possible to say. Asvaghosa, in seinBuddhacarita (xii.17ff), puts into the mouth of Ārāda oder Ālāra, a brief account of seinphilosophy. It has some resemblance - though this is slight - to the Sānkhya philosophy, aber in Ālāra’s tjedeing some of the salient characteristics of the Sānkhya system are absent. In reply to Gotama's questions about the religious life und the obtaining of final release, Ālāra describes a system of spiritual development which is identisch mit the methods of the Buddhist Mönch up to the last attainment aber one. The Mönch rjedees the vier jhānas und then attains successively to the states of space, infinity und nothingness. The last drei stages are described in the terms of the first drei of the vier Attainments. (For a discussion on this siehe Thomas, op. cit., p.229-30; siehe auch MA.ii.881; VibhA.432). According to Buddhaghosa (AA.i.458), Bharandu Kālāma was a disciple of Ālāra at the same time as Gotama und is therefore described as der Buddha's purāna-sabrahmacārī (A.i.277). Buddhaghosa further tells us (DA.ii.569) that in Ālāra Kālāma, Ālāra was seinpersonal name. He was so called because he was dīgha-pingala (long und tawny).