10+ Genuine Buddha quotes on friendship

Picture by dominiqueb on Flickr.

Not too long ago I did a search on Google for “Buddha quotes on friendship,” and was shocked to search out that the highest consequence was a web page the place 100% of the quotes have been fabricated. They’re both quotes by different individuals which have been misattributed to the Buddha, or somebody has sat down and composed a bunch of Hallmark-sounding quotes, and put them on a web site, stamped onto pictures of the Buddha.

I’m not even going to hyperlink to the positioning in query, however right here’s a pattern of the BS they’re attempting to cross off as being from the Buddhist scriptures:


(I’ve needed to current these within the type of a picture, as a result of guess what textual content Google determined to show within the search outcomes? Sure, the pretend quotes!)

None of those, and not one of the different 5 quotes on the positioning, is real. None of them is from the Buddha. They’re all pretend.

Presumably this act of deception was executed in an effort to generate profits via promoting, though I can’t rule out the chance that the creator of the quotes additionally took malicious pleasure out of fooling individuals.

Probably the most startling issues about that is the failure of Google’s high quality filters. They boast of bringing prime quality info to web customers, they usually largely do, however right here they’re providing up full rubbish, rating this web site in first place. They rank it above plenty of wonderful articles on friendship within the Buddhist custom (together with one by by Norman Fisher and one other, on this web site, by Justin Whitaker) ,and likewise above Wikipedia’s article on kalyāṇa mittatā, which is the Pāli phrase for non secular friendship.

With that introduction out of the way in which, listed below are some real quotes from the early Buddhist texts on friendship, with slightly context thrown in.

1. “Good associates, companions, and associates are the entire of the non secular life.”

That is from a passage within the Upaḍḍhasutta (SN 45.2) the place the Buddha’s cousin and attendant, Ānanda, involves him to specific his realization of how essential friendship (kalyāṇa mittatā) is within the non secular life:

On one event the Blessed One was dwelling among the many Sakyans the place there was a city of the Sakyans [the Buddha’s tribe] named Nagaraka [“Little Town”]. Then the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, sat down to at least one aspect, and mentioned to him:

“Venerable sir, that is half of the holy life, that’s, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship.”

“Not so, Ānanda! Not so, Ānanda! That is all the holy life, Ānanda, that’s, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship. When a bhikkhu [monk] has a superb good friend, a superb companion, a superb comrade, it’s to be anticipated that he’ll develop and domesticate the Noble Eightfold Path.

Ānanda’s realization was essential, however from the Buddha’s standpoint it didn’t go far sufficient. The Buddha acknowledged that with out the help of different individuals, we received’t make a lot non secular progress. In truth, the help of others is indispensable.

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Generally individuals suppose that the Buddha acquired enlightened all on his personal. In a way he did, however you possibly can’t take his second of enlightenment out of the context of his total life, the place he little question acquired non secular instruction at house, after which after his “going forth” he had two lecturers, Āḷāra of the Kālāma tribe and Uddaka Rāmaputta (son of Rāma). After that, he had 5 companions with whom he practiced till shortly earlier than his enlightenment. He might even have clarified his understanding of non secular follow via the act of instructing. Any of us that teaches is aware of that the act of instructing helps us to change into clearer about what we all know.

2. “By relying upon me as a superb good friend … beings are free of sorrow, lamentation, ache, displeasure, and despair.”

Later in the identical dialog, the Buddha factors out how he himself is a non secular good friend to all the world.

By relying upon me as a superb good friend, Ānanda, beings topic to start are free of start; beings topic to ageing are free of ageing; beings topic to loss of life are free of loss of life; beings topic to sorrow, lamentation, ache, displeasure, and despair are free of sorrow, lamentation, ache, displeasure, and despair. By this methodology it might be understood how all the holy life is nice friendship, good companionship, good comradeship.

3. “A real good friend is one who stands by you in want.”

Truly this one does sound a bit like one thing from a Hallmark card! It’s from a piece within the Sigālovāda Sutta, the place the Buddha summarizes, in poetic verse, some teachings he’s simply given to a householder referred to as Sigālaka, on find out how to keep away from dangerous deeds and dangerous influences. The verse that accommodates this line says: “Some are simply ingesting buddies, some name you their pricey, pricey good friend, however a real good friend is one who stands by you in want.” One other translation renders this as “Some are ingesting buddies, some say, ‘Expensive good friend! Expensive good friend!’ however whoever in hardship stands shut by, that one really is a good friend.” A powerful emphasis on this part of the discourse is avoiding associates who could be dangerous influences.

This not the one factor that the Buddha has to say to Sigālaka in regards to the worth of friendship. There’s a piece on pretend associates, and one other on “good-hearted associates” (suhada-mitta).

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4.  “A good friend provides what is difficult to offer, and does what’s onerous to do. They put up along with your harsh phrases, and with issues onerous to endure.”

There’s a beautiful little instructing referred to as the “Mitta Sutta” (the “Discourse on Associates”) the place the Buddha tells a bunch of monks about seven qualities they need to search for in a good friend. The seven are:

  1. They provide what is difficult to offer.
  2. They do what is difficult to do.
  3. They endure what is difficult to endure.
  4. They reveal their secrets and techniques to you.
  5. They preserve your secrets and techniques.
  6. They don’t abandon you in occasions of hassle.
  7. They don’t look down on you in occasions of loss.

“The particular person in whom this stuff are discovered is your good friend,” the Buddha says, as he sums up his instructing in a verse that features the headline quote above.

As Justin Whitaker factors out in one other article on friendship we’ve revealed on this web site, it’s notable that the Buddha doesn’t say that your good friend ought to be sensible, or an important meditator. That is good, fundamental stuff to do with integrity and mutual respect.

5. “Acknowledge these 4 good-hearted associates: the helper, the good friend in good occasions and dangerous, the counselor, and the one who’s compassionate.”

The Buddha has warned Sigālaka find out how to acknowledge those that are solely after your cash or who wish to lead you into ingesting and playing, however he additionally encourages the younger man to understand good associates. He not solely lists 4 varieties of good-hearted good friend, however provides Sigālaka tips about find out how to acknowledge every kind:

  • The Helper: “They guard you whenever you’re negligent. They guard your property whenever you’re negligent. They preserve you protected in occasions of hazard. When one thing wants doing, they provide you with twice the cash you want.”
  • The Good friend in Good Instances and Unhealthy: “They inform you secrets and techniques. They preserve your secrets and techniques. They don’t abandon you in occasions of hassle. They’d even give their life in your welfare.”
  • The Counselor: “They preserve you from doing dangerous. They help you in doing good. They train you what you have no idea. They clarify the trail to heaven.”
  • The Compassionate Good friend: “They don’t enjoyment of your misfortune. They enjoyment of your luck. They preserve others from criticizing you. They encourage reward of you.”

The Buddha rounds out this recommendation as soon as once more in poetic verse: “An astute particular person understands, these 4 associates for what they’re and punctiliously takes care of them, like a mom the kid at her breast.”

6. “Emulating consummate conviction … consummate advantage … consummate generosity … and consummate discernment. That is referred to as admirable friendship.”

Right here the Buddha is giving recommendation to a different householder, Dīghajāṇu the Koliyan, who has requested for some basic recommendation on what would contribute to his and others’ “welfare and happiness on this life and in future lives.”

The Buddha provides recommendation below the 4 classes of moral livelihood, safety, good friendship, and balanced funds. The condensed quote above clearly comes from the recommendation on admirable or good friendship (kalyāṇa mittatā).

In full, that recommendation reads as follows:

“And what’s meant by admirable friendship? There may be the case the place a lay particular person, in no matter city or village he might dwell, spends time with homeowners or homeowners’ sons, younger or previous, who’re superior in advantage. He talks with them, engages them in discussions. He emulates consummate conviction in those that are consummate in conviction, consummate advantage in those that are consummate in advantage, consummate generosity in those that are consummate in generosity, and consummate discernment in those that are consummate in discernment. That is referred to as admirable friendship.”

7. “One who has non secular associates abandons what’s unwholesome and develops what’s healthful.”

I’ve modified “bhikkhu” (monk) to “one” on this quote from the Itivuttika as a result of though the Buddha was speaking to monks when he made this assertion, it’s clearly true for everybody. Anybody can profit from having a non secular good friend (kalyāṇa mitta).

Within the full passage I’ve quoted from, the Buddha says actually that non secular friendship is crucial exterior consider a non secular practitioner’s life:  “I don’t understand one other single issue so useful as non secular friendship for a monk who’s a learner, who has not attained perfection however lives aspiring for the supreme safety from bondage.”

8. “It’s best to prepare like this:  ‘I’ll have good associates, companions, and associates.’”

That is one thing that the Buddha mentioned to his good friend, King Pasenadi of Kosala, after the ruler had made an announcement praising the significance of non secular associates. The Buddha went on to say, “When you may have non secular associates [kalyāṇa mittas], non secular companions, and non secular associates, you reside supported by one factor—diligence in skillful qualities.”

9. “Because the daybreak is the forerunner of the dawn, so non secular friendship is the forerunner of the arising of the components of enlightenment.”

There are a variety of discourses the place the Buddha emphasizes the significance of non secular friendship as a help for following the eightfold path. Right here he switches issues up and refers to a different model of the trail — the Seven Components of Enlightenment. He additionally provides the good simile of the daybreak’s first gentle heralding the arrival of the solar.

The Buddha talked elsewhere about friendship being one of many components that stops a non secular practitioner from slipping away from their follow: “One with good associates, straightforward to admonish, reverential and respectful, can’t decline, and has drawn close to to nirvāṇa.”

10. “Regard one who sees your faults as a information to a hidden treasure. Keep shut to at least one so sensible and astute who corrects you whenever you want it.”

This recommendation doesn’t imply you need to hang around with damaging, overcritical so-and-so’s. It assumes that the particular person is sensible, and is ready to level out faults in a spiritually helpful method. In truth the Buddha supplied 5 issues we must always apply to ourselves is we take into account providing criticism: “I’ll communicate on the proper time, not on the fallacious time. I’ll communicate honestly, not falsely. I’ll communicate gently, not harshly. I’ll communicate beneficially, not harmfully. I’ll communicate lovingly, not from secret hate.”

The quote within the heading is from the Dhammapada, the place verses 76 to 78 are about the advantages of non secular friendship, as contrasted with “low” associates who lead you astray.

  1. Regard one who sees your faults as a information to a hidden treasure. Keep shut to at least one so sensible and astute who corrects you whenever you want it. Sticking near such an neutral particular person, issues get higher, not worse.
  2. Advise and instruct; curb wickedness: for you shall be liked by the great, and disliked by the dangerous.
  3. Don’t combine with dangerous associates, nor with the worst of males. Combine with non secular associates, and with one of the best of males.

11. “A non secular practitioner with good associates, companions, and associates can anticipate to be sensible.”

One of many fundamental teachings in regards to the worth of friendship to be discovered within the scriptures recounts an incident the place the Buddha’s attendant, Meghiya, abandons him to go off meditating within the shade of a beautiful mango grove he’d noticed. (For apparent causes Meghiya was not the Buddha’s attendant for lengthy!)

Within the quote above I’ve rendered “bhikkhu” as “non secular practitioner” as an alternative of monk, as a result of the purpose the Buddha’s making isn’t legitimate just for males who’ve a sure ecclesiastical standing, however to all of us.

Again to Meghiya: He apparently expects he’s going to have nice meditations in his lovely mango grove, however as an alternative he’s assailed by distractions. When he comes again to the Buddha along with his tail between his legs, the Buddha provides him an intensive instructing on the ways in which friendship is a help within the non secular life.

He says that monks “with good associates, companions, and associates” can anticipate:

  • To be moral, restrained within the monastic code, conducting themselves nicely and looking for alms in appropriate locations. Seeing hazard within the slightest fault, they preserve the principles they’ve undertaken.
  • To participate in speak about self-effacement that helps open the guts, when they need, with out hassle or issue. That’s, speak about fewness of needs, contentment, seclusion, aloofness, arousing power, ethics, immersion, knowledge, freedom, and the information and imaginative and prescient of freedom.
  • To have their power roused up for giving up unskillful qualities and embracing skillful qualities.
  • To be sensible. They’ve the knowledge of arising and passing away which is noble, penetrative, and results in the entire ending of struggling.

When the guts’s launch just isn’t mature, these 5 issues collectively (the 4 within the record, plus friendship itself) assist it mature. In different phrases, friendship helps help us all the way in which to enlightenment.

Meghiya himself, in abandoning the Buddha, has not been a superb good friend. He’s additionally turned down a chance to be on the receiving finish of the Buddha’s friendship and companionship. His ego acquired in the way in which of his friendships, and thus of his non secular progress.

So there you may have ten Buddha quotes from the scriptures on the subject of friendship.

If the writer of the positioning I began off speaking about had good associates within the sense that the Buddha used that time period — individuals who exemplify moral qualities and restrain us from doing dangerous issues — then they wouldn’t be aiming to generate profits by mendacity to individuals.

And if in case you have an opportunity to hang around with real quotes from the Buddhist scriptures, possibly we shouldn’t be like Meghiya and head off for the flashier, feel-good, however pretend variations.

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