"Monks, there are these two kinds of search: the noble search and the ignoble search. And what is the ignoble search? Here someone being himself subject to birth seeks what is also subject to birth; being himself subject to aging, he seeks what is also subject to aging; being himself subject to sickness, he seeks what is also subject to sickness; being himself subject to death, he seeks what is also subject to death; being himself subject to sorrow, he seeks what is also subject to sorrow; being himself subject to defilement, he seeks what is also subject to defilement.
"And what may be said to be subject to birth, aging, sickness, and death; to sorrow and defilement? Wife and children, men and women slaves, goats and sheep, fowl and pigs, elephants, cattle, horses, and mares, gold and silver: these acquisitions are subject to birth, aging, sickness, and death; to sorrow and defilement; and one who is tied to these things, infatuated with them, and utterly absorbed in them, being himself subject to birth ... to sorrow and defilement, seeks what it also subject to birth ... to sorrow and defilement.
"And what is the noble search? Here someone being himself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, seeks the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being himself subject to aging, having understood the danger in what is subject to aging, he seeks the unaging supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being himself subject to sickness, having understood the danger in what is subject to sickness, he seeks the unailing supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being himself subject to death, having understood the danger in what is subject to death, he seeks the deathless supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being himself subject to sorrow, having understood the danger in what is subject to sorrow, he seeks the sorrowless supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being himself subject to defilement, having understood the danger in what is subject to defilement, he seeks the undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbana. This is the noble search.
"Monks, before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened bodhisatta, I too, being myself subject to birth, sought what was also subject to birth; being myself subject to aging, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, I sought what was also subject to aging, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement.
Then I considered thus: 'Why, being myself subject to birth, do I seek what is also subject to birth? Why, being myself subject to aging, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, do I seek what is also subject to aging, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement? Suppose that, being myself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, I seek the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbana. Suppose that, being myself subject to aging, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, having understood the danger in what is subject to aging, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, I seek the unaging, unailing, deathless, sorrow-less, and undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbana.'
"Later, while still young, a black-haired young man endowed with the blessing of youth, in the prime of life, though my mother and father wished otherwise and wept with tearful faces, I shaved off my hair and beard, put on the ochre robe, and went forth from the home life into homelessness.
"Having gone forth, monks, in search of what is wholesome, seeking the supreme state of sublime peace, I went to Alara Kalama and said to him: 'Friend Kalama, I want to lead the spiritual life in this Dhamma and Discipline.'
Alara Kalama replied: 'The venerable one may stay here.
This Dhamma is such that a wise man can soon enter upon and dwell in it, realizing for himself through direct knowledge his own teacher's doctrine.' I soon quickly learned that Dhamma.
As far as mere lip-reciting and rehearsal of his teaching went, I could speak with knowledge and assurance, and I claimed, T know and see'—and there were others who did likewise.
"I considered: 'It is not through mere faith alone that Alara Kalama declares: "By realizing it for myself with direct knowledge, I enter upon and dwell in this Dhamma." Certainly Alara Kalama dwells knowing and seeing this Dhamma.' Then I went to Alara Kalama and asked him: 'Friend Kalama, in what way do you declare that by realizing it for yourself with direct knowledge you enter upon and dwell in this Dhamma?' In reply he declared the base of nothingness.
"I considered: 'Not only Alara Kalama has faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. I too have faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. Suppose I endeavor to realize the Dhamma that Alara Kalama declares he enters upon and dwells in by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge?'
"I soon quickly entered upon and dwelled in that Dhamma by realizing it for myself with direct knowledge.
Then I went to Alara Kalama and asked him: 'Friend Kalama, is it in this way that you declare that you enter upon and dwell in this Dhamma by realizing it for yourself with direct knowledge?'—'That is the way, friend.'—'It is in this way, friend, that I also enter upon and dwell in this Dhamma by realizing it for myself with direct knowledge.'—'It is a gain for us, friend, it is a great gain for us that we have such a venerable one for our fellow monk. So the Dhamma that I declare I enter upon and dwell in by realizing it for myself with direct knowledge is the Dhamma that you enter upon and dwell in by realizing it for yourself with direct knowledge. And the Dhamma that you enter upon and dwell in by realizing it for yourself with direct knowledge is the Dhamma that I declare I enter upon and dwell in by realizing it for myself with direct knowledge. So you know the Dhamma that I know and I know the Dhamma that you know. As I am, so are you; as you are, so am I. Come, friend, let us now lead this community together.'
"Thus Alara Kalama, my teacher, placed me, his pupil, on an equal footing with himself and awarded me the highest honor. But it occurred to me: 'This Dhamma does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana, but only to rebirth in the base of nothingness.' Not being satisfied with that Dhamma, disappointed with it, I left.
"Still in search, monks, of what is wholesome, seeking the supreme state of sublime peace, I went to Uddaka Ramaputta and said to him: 'Friend, I want to lead the spiritual life in this Dhamma and Discipline.'
Uddaka Ramaputta replied: 'The venerable one may stay here. This Dhamma is such that a wise man can soon enter upon and dwell in it, himself realizing through direct knowledge his own teacher's doctrine.'
I soon quickly learned that Dhamma.
As far as mere lip-reciting and rehearsal of his teaching went, I could speak with knowledge and assurance, and I claimed, T know and see'—and there were others who did likewise.
"I considered: 'It was not through mere faith alone that Rama declared: "By realizing it for myself with direct knowledge, I enter upon and dwell in this Dhamma."
Certainly Rama dwelled knowing and seeing this Dhamma.'
Then I went to Uddaka Ramaputta and asked him: 'Friend, in what way did Rama declare that by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge he entered upon and dwelled in this Dhamma?' In reply Uddaka Ramaputta declared the base of neither-perception-nor-nonperception.
"I considered: 'Not only Rama had faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. I too have faith, energy, mindfulness concentration, and wisdom. Suppose I endeavor to realize the Dhamma that Rama declared he entered upon and dwelled in by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge.'
"I soon quickly entered upon and dwelled in that Dhamma by realizing it for myself with direct knowledge.
Then I went to Uddaka Ramaputta and asked him: 'Friend, was it in this way that Rama declared that he entered upon and dwelled in this Dhamma by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge?'—'That is the way, friend.'— 'It is in this way, friend, that I also enter upon and dwell in this Dhamma by realizing it for myself with direct knowledge.'—'It is a gain for us, friend, it is a great gain for us that we have such a venerable one for our fellow monk. So the Dhamma that Rama declared he entered upon and dwelled in by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge is the Dhamma that you enter upon and dwell in by realizing it for yourself with direct knowledge. And the Dhamma that you enter upon and dwell in by realizing it for yourself with direct knowledge is the Dhamma that Rama declared he entered upon and dwelled in by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge. So you know the Dhamma that Rama knew and Rama knew the Dhamma that you know. As Rama was, so are you; as you are, so was Rama. Come, friend, now lead this community.'
"Thus Uddaka Ramaputta, my fellow monk, placed me in the position of a teacher and accorded me the highest honor.
But it occurred to me: 'This Dhamma does not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana, but only to rebirth in the base of neither-perception-nor-nonperception.'
Not being satisfied with that Dhamma, disappointed with it, I left.
"Still in search, monks, of what is wholesome, seeking the supreme state of sublime peace, I wandered by stages through the Magadhan country until eventually I arrived at Uruvela near Senanigama. There I saw an agreeable piece of ground, a delightful grove with a clear-flowing river with pleasant, smooth banks and nearby a village for alms resort.
I considered: 'This is an agreeable piece of ground, this is a delightful grove with a clear-flowing river with pleasant, smooth banks and nearby a village for alms resort. This will serve for the striving of a clansman intent on striving.'
And I sat down there thinking: 'This will serve for striving.'
"Then, monks, being myself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, seeking the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being myself subject to aging, having understood the danger in what is subject to aging, seeking the unag-ing supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the unaging supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being myself subject to sickness, having understood the danger in what is subject to sickness, seeking the unailing supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the unailing supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being myself subject to death, having understood the danger in what is subject to death, seeking the deathless supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the deathless supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being myself subject to sorrow, having understood the danger in what is subject to sorrow, seeking the sorrowless supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the sorrowless supreme security from bondage, Nibbana; being myself subject to defilement, having understood the danger in what is subject to defilement, seeking the undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbana, I attained the undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbana.
The knowledge and vision arose in me: 'My liberation is unshakable. This is my last birth. Now there is no more renewed existence.'"


(from MN 26: Ariyapariyesana Sutta; 1160-67)