A young brahmin, sixteen years old, of Sāvatthī, very learned in the Vedas and allied subjects. Five hundred brahmins staying in the city asked him to hold a discussion with the Buddha and refute his views. He agreed only after repeated requests, because, he said, Gotama was a thinker with views of his own and, therefore, difficult to defeat in controversy.

He visits the Buddha and asks what he has to say concerning the claims of the brahmins to be the only superior class, the legitimate sons of Brahma.

The Buddha points out to him that such pretensions are baseless, and that virtue, which alone leads to purity, can be cultivated by any of the four classes. Assalāyana sits silent and upset at the end of the discourse, but when the Buddha relates to him a story of the past where Asita Devala had defeated brahmins who held these same views, Assalāyana feels relieved and expresses his admiration of the Buddha’s exposition. He declares himself a follower of the Buddha. MN.ii.147ff.