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A Buddhist Approach to Friendship *

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      Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammâ Sambuddhassa!     Sakyamuni Sambuddha Vihara ~ Dhamma Message ~ Ven. Soma Dhamma Home SSV Home Events Donate Maha
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 6, 2008
      � Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samm� Sambuddhassa! �
      � Sakyamuni Sambuddha Vihara
      ~�Dhamma Message�~
      Ven. Soma Dhamma Home SSV Home Events Donate Maha Piritha Chanting Join Dhamma Leave Dhamma Join a Friend Questions/Feedback
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      Please feel free to distribute this message among your friends, colleagues and relatives.
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      Saturday, 9 August, 8:00 AM : Monthly Meditation Retreat contains several 1hr meditation sessions, discussions on Sutta and other matters related to our own practice. All are welcome. Theme: Maha Satipattana Sutta - Dhammanupassana + Lunch will not be provided. To avoid congestion in heating up food, meals that do not need heating are encouraged. Lunch time is limited to 30mins. For details contact temple on 03 9702 6275 or Saman 0419 878 273. View program and other information.

      Saturday, 9 August, 8:00 PM : Vas bana (rains retreat sermon).. A sermon will be delivered by Ven. Pallewela Devarakkhitha Thero of Paramitha Buddhist Temple, Rockbank at 8.00 p.m. All are welcome. At Sakyamuni Sambuddha Vihara, 125 Homestead Road, Berwick. For details contact the temple on 03 9702 6275.

      Sunday, 10 August, 2:30 PM : Samithiya. All Daham Pasel students to participate in this event. Please prepare an item to be presented or performed before the school. For details contact the temple on 03 9702 6275.
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      Namo tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samm� Sambuddhassa!

      A BUDDHIST APPROACH TO FRIENDSHIP 1
      Origin:Sakyamuni Sambuddha Vihara� �� Version: 1.0� �� Email: dhammagroup@...� �� Website:www.vihara.org.au


      Friendship can be a difficult and complex topic for a young person to grasp. At times it can be difficult to know who means one well and who does not. This article aims to shed some light on this topic from a Buddhist perspective, especially for the benefit of young adults.

      Someone can either be a friend, an enemy or neither a friend nor an enemy (neutral). However this can also be subject to change (anicca). Generally friends are the beings that are dear, mean one well and offer protection. Enemies on the other hand are the opposite of this; they are not dear, wish to cause one harm and to see one�s demise, suffering, loss and unhappiness. Neutral beings (e.g. acquaintances) neither mean one well nor any harm. The Lord Buddhaoutlined how to different between friends and enemies in depth in the Sigalovada Sutta. As a basic guideline, any being who acts to cause one harm can be considered an enemy, while any being that causes no harm to one and give rise to happiness and well-being can be considered a friend. Someone who does neither can be considered neutral.2

      � � � � � � Sometimes the line between a friend and an enemy can become blurred. A friend can act like an enemy and an enemy can act like a friend. This is consistent with the law of impermanence (anicca) where everything, including relationships, constantly changes. So regardless of whom one deals with, it is important to do so with wisdom (panna). It is of paramount importance to not let others take advantage, use,� abuse, trap, mislead, or do any other harmful thing to one when dealing with others, whether they are classed as friends, enemies or neutrals. There are wise and skilfulways of preventing others from causing one harm that are in-line with the Dhamma(reality, truth, the way things are) teachings, which cause no harm to either oneself or others.3 This way no matter how others change, one will always be protected.

      � � � � � � The Lord Buddhaadvised to avoid companionship with the foolish. �Foolish� here refers to those lacking in wisdom and live unskilfully � this is essentially those who lead ignoble lives that contradict basic moralvalues and decency and/or takes one away from the correct Path. If one associates with such beings, one will be at the risk of falling down to their level through association and bad influence and may even miss the chance to find the lasting peace of Nibbana. The Lord Buddhasaid that if one cannot find a wise and good companion to associate with, someone who is on the same �level� as one or better, to lead a life of solitude � that is to live alone.4 This advice is completely contradictory to the cultural outlook and thinking of Western societies where a life of solitude can be looked down upon. It is important to not get influenced by such thinking and to always resort to the Lord Buddha�s words for better
      guidance instead.

      � � � � � � People need and seek out friendship for many of the benefits that it brings. Good friends can be depended on in times of need, are good advisors and companions. It helps to understand why people seek friendship at a deeper level. From a Buddhist perspective people seek the friendship to be �happier.� How is this �happiness� defined in Buddhist terms? It is defined as pleasure. Friends are associated to please the eyewith their pleasant sight (seeing them), to pleasing the earwith their pleasant sound (their voices), to please the bodywith the pleasant touch (e.g. hugging) and also to please the mindwith the pleasant ideas that friendship gives rise to (e.g. good memories). It is when this �happiness� (pleasure) is missing that one feels �unhappy� (displeasure). Under this condition, one is said to be �lonely.� Enlightened beings and others advanced along the Pathdo not need nor seek companionship as they do not
      desire pleasures of any kind.5

      � � � � � � Generally beings that primarily give rise to pleasure(causing attachment) are classes as �friends� and beings that primarily give rise to �displeasure� (causing aversion) are classed as enemies. The choice of friends is a personal thing, based on personal likes/dislikes, standards, ideas, views, beliefs, etc. It is natural for like beings to be drawn to other like beings and unlike beings to be repulsed from other unlike beings. Some beings become one�s enemy because of a personal weakness they possess, be it fear, insecurity, desire (lobha) and competition for something, aversion (vyapada) or even stupidity and confused thinking (moha) and not because of anything that one has done to them. Especially in such instances, there is nothing to take �personally�.6 One needs to understand this with wisdom (panna) as to why beings act the way they do.

      � � � � � � Everyone has friends, enemies and neutral beings. Generally friends mean one well, enemies mean one harm and neutral beings mean one neither harm nor happiness.7 The distinction between friends and enemies can sometimes blur, so it is always important to use wisdom to employ skilful means of preventing anyone, be it a friend, enemy or otherwise, from causing one harm. The Lord Buddhahas explained in detail how to determine between friends and enemies in the Sigalovada Sutta. Outwardly appearance/behaviour is not always a good way of judging this. The Lord Buddhaadvised to avoid companionship with the foolishand to only associate with beings who are the same as one or more advanced along the Path. It is better to live alone if one does not find such a companion despite societal/cultural pressures. People seek friendship and companionship for various reasons, including deriving pleasure, which is widely viewed as �happiness.� Beings
      may become enemies due to their own personal weaknesses and it may have nothing to do with one�s behaviour towards them.

      � � � � � � May you find good friendsto help you on the Pathand if not the strength to travel the Pathin solitude and peace towards the lasting peace of Nibbana!


      FRIENDSHIP

      You are lonely,
      because you want company,
      to please your sense-bases,
      including the mind.

      �Loneliness� is a label used to describe the sadness of not having company,
      and if you did not want company,
      would you still be unhappy,
      pine for others,
      or sufferthe pain that you do?

      All you need is the Lord Buddha;
      let him be your friend and relative,
      in the absence of good friends,
      and associates.

      Also look to the Dhamma,
      his faultless findings on reality,
      to keep you out of sadness,
      and to keep you happy and content.


      Notes

      1. The latest version of this document can be found in HTML format here http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=mittaand in PDF format here http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=mittap

      2. Just because someone is outwardly nice, it does not always follow that they are a friend and means one well. The inverse (exact reverse) of this can also be true. Use wisdomto know and understand this.

      3. Refer to a wise personif in doubt.

      4. See Dhammapadaverses 61, 328-330 below. Dhammapadaverses are especially suitable for children. See an online versions here http://www.geocities.com/ekchew.geo/dhammapada.htmhere http://www.mettanet.org/english/Narada/index.htmand here http://www.buddhanet.net/dhammapada/


      AVOID COMPANIONSHIP WITH THE FOOLISH

      [Pali:]Caran ce nadhigaccheyya - seyyam sadisam attano
      Ekacariyam dalham kayira - natthi bale sahayata.

      [English:]If, as the disciple fares along, he meets no companion who is better or equal, let him firmly pursue his solitary career. There is no fellowship* with the foolish.**


      A Disobedient Novice Monk

      When Venerable Maha Kassapawas residing near Rajagaha, he had two young novice monks staying with him. One of them was respectful, obedient and dutiful but the other one was not. When Kassapaadvised the disobedient novice not to neglect his duties, the latter became very offended.

      One day, he went to the house of a lay disciple of the monk, and untruthfully said that Kassapawas ill. Thus, he got some choice food from them which was meant for Kassapa; but he ate it on the way. When admonished by Kassapafor this he was extremely angry. The next day, when Kassapawas out on his alms round, the foolish young novice stayed behind, broke the pots and pans and set fire to the monastery.

      When a bhikkhu(Venerable monk) from Rajagaha told the Buddhaabout this, the Buddharemarked that it would have been much better for Kassapato live alone than to live with a foolishcompanion who caused so much distraction.

      Notes

      * Sahayata, According to the commentary this term connotes higher morality, insight, Paths, and Fruits of Sainthood. No such virtuesare found in the foolish.

      ** Out of compassion, to work for their betterment, one may associate with the foolish but not be contaminated by them.


      ASSOCIATE WITH THE WISE

      [Pali:]Sace labetha nipakam sahayam - saddhim caram sadhu vihari dhiram
      Abhibhuyya sabbani parissayani - careyya ten�attamano satima. 328.

      [English:]If you get a prudent companion (who is fit) to live with you, who behaves well and is wise, you should live with him joyfully and mindfully, overcoming all dangers. 328.


      WANDER ALONE IF THERE IS NO SUITABLE COMPANION

      [Pali:]No ce labetha nipakam sahayam - saddhim caram sadhu vihari dhiram
      Raja�va rattham vijitam pahaya - eko care matangarann�eva nago. 329.

      [English:]If you don�t get a prudent companion who (is fit) to live with you, who behaves well and is wise, then like a king who leaves a conquered kingdom, you should live alone as an elephant does in the elephant forest. 329.


      A SOLITARY CAREER IS BETTER

      [Pali:]Ekassa caritam seyyo - natthi bale sahayata*
      Eko care na ca papani kayira - appossukko matangarann�eva nago.330.

      [English:]Better it is to live alone. There is no fellowship with the ignorant. Let one live alone doing no evil, carefree, like an elephant in the elephant forest. 330.


      An Elephant Waits Upon the Buddha

      A trivial incident led to an unfortunate dispute amongst the bhikkhus(Venerable monks) in the city of Kosambi. The quarrelsome bhikkhusdid not listen even to the advice of the Buddha. So he left them and spent the vassa (rains) all alone in the forest, where the elephant Parileyyaka waited on him. Owing to pressure brought on them by the devotees, the bhikkhusrealising their mistakes requested Venerable Anandato invite the Enlightened Oneto return to the monastery.

      At the end of vassa, Anandawent into the forest, accompanied by five hundred bhikkhus. Leaving the bhikkhusat some distance, Anandaapproached the Buddhaalone. Then he told Anandato send for the other bhikkhus. All of them came, paid obeisance to the Buddhaand said, �Venerable Sir! You must have had a hard time spending the vassa all alone in this forest.� To this, the Buddhareplied, �Bhikkhus, don�t say so. The elephant Parileyyaka looked after me all this time. He was indeed a very good friend, a true friend. If one has such a good friendone should stick to him. But if one cannot find a good friendit is better to stay alone.�

      Notes

      * Sahayata. By this term are meant morality, austere practices, insight, Paths, Fruits and Nibbana.


      5. This should not be misunderstood as friendship/companionship is bad, evil, etc. The Lord Buddha has said that good friendship (kalyana-mittata) is conducive to progress along the Path. Someone who is accustomed to living among the company of many people may find it difficult to enjoy solitude. The practice of solitudeshould not be attempted abruptly but in slow degrees so as to not cause any kind of harm or stress to oneself.

      6. Nothing should be taken personally from an ultimate Buddhist perspective as there is no �person� there to take anything personally. There are just collections of five aggregates (panca-khanda) interacting with one another influences by various forces such as cause and effect(kamma-vipaka).

      7. In reality there are no �friends,� �enemies,� �neutral beings,� �me,� �I,� �you,� �they,� or �them,� but just impermanent (anicca) states. These are all just labels that are used to describe illusory concepts such �friends,� �enemies,� �I,�, �me,� �you� etc to deluded(until enlightenment/realization) beings living in the conventional world, viewing and dealing with reality in a conventional (and deluded) manner.
      *� See the previous installment here http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhamma/message/1436%ef%bf%bd


      Related Suttas (Discourses)

      1. Anguttara Nikaya7.35, Mitta Sutta, A Friendsee http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an07/an07.035.than.html

      2. Sutta Nipata2.3, Hiri Sutta, Consciencesee http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.03.than.html

      3. Anguttara Nikaya8.54, Dighajanu (Vyagghapajja) Sutta, Conditions of Welfaresee
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.054.nara.html#friendship

      4. Digha Nikaya31, Sigalovada Sutta, The Discourse to Sigalasee http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.31.0.nara.html

      5. Samyutta Nikaya45.2, Upaddha Sutta, Half (of the Holy Life)see
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn45/sn45.002.than.html

      6. Anguttara Nikaya9.1, Sambodhi Sutta, Self-awakeningsee
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an09/an09.001.than.html#friend2%ef%bf%bd%ef%bf%bd

      7. Khuddakapatha5, Mangala Sutta, Blessings see http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/khp/khp.5.nara.html


      Related DhammaArticles

      1. Offerings- On making offerings to the Lord Buddha's supreme qualities, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=offerings

      2. Daily Dana- On giving and generosity, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=dailydana

      3. Five Precepts- Developing virtue through the five precepts, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=pansil

      4. Work Stress- An analysis of stress in the work-place, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=workstress

      5. An Introduction to Buddhist Meditation- Basic instructions for doing the mediations of loving kindness (metta), awareness of breath (ana-pana-sati) and foulness of the body (asubha), see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=intromed

      6. Equanimity- Dealing with the eight characteristics of life, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=equanimity

      7. Metta Meditation- Easy to follow instructions for doing the meditation on loving-kindness, see
      http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=mettamed

      8. A Buddhist Approach to Problem Solving- Problem solving through the development of wisdom (panna), see
      http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=probsolv

      9. A Buddhist Approach to Mental Health- A Buddhist perspective and approach to mental health, see
      http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=mentalhealth

      10. One Hour of Unsatisfactoriness- The unsatisfactoriness that can be felt within the space of an hour, see
      http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=onehour

      11. Four Noble Truths- The essence of Buddhism, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=fourtruths

      12. Noble Eightfold Path- The path for ending stress and suffering, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=noblepath


      Online Resources

      1. AccessToInsight.orghere http://www.accesstoinsight.org

      2. Mettanet.orghere http://www.mettanet.org

      3. What-Buddha-Said.nethere http://what-buddha-said.net

      4. What-Buddha-Taught.nethere http://what-buddha-taught.net

      5. SuttaReadings.nethere http://www.suttareadings.net

      6. Buddhanet.nethere http://www.buddhanet.net
      ________________________________

      Dhamma (Buddhism) ArticlesA Buddhist Approach to Friendship - A Buddhist approach to friendship, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=mitta

      A Buddhist Approach to Disillusionment - A Buddhist approach to seeing past the trickery and into reality, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=disill

      A Buddhist Approach to Mental Health - A Buddhist perspective and approach to mental health, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=mentalhealth

      A Buddhist Approach to Problem Solving - A Buddhist approach to problem solving through the development of wisdom (panna), see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=probsolv

      A Buddhist Approach to Time Management - A Buddhist approach to effective time management, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=timeman

      An Introduction to Buddhist Meditation - Basic instructions for doing the mediations of loving kindness (metta), awareness of breath (ana-pana-sati) and foulness of the body (asubha) , see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=intromed

      Arahants and Suicide - An analysis on whether Arahants (Worthy Ones) can commit suicide, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=arahsuic

      Attachment - An analysis of how attachment leads to unsatisfactoriness, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=attachment

      Buddhist Positive Thinking - Positive thinking from a Buddhist perspective, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=posthink

      Consequences - About being responsible for our actions (kamma) and their consequences (vipaka), see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=conseq

      Daily D�na - On giving and generosity, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=dailydana

      Delusion - Covers the three unwholesome roots of action including delusion (moha), see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=moha

      Equanimity - Dealing with the eight characteristics of life, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=equanimity

      Fault Finding & Resentment - Dealing with fault finding and resentment, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=faultfind

      Five Precepts - Developing virtue through the five precepts, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=pansil

      Four Noble Truths - The essence of Buddhism, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=fourtruths

      Inevitabilities - The inevitabilities of life - old age and death, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=inevit

      Jealousy - An analysis of jealousy, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=mudita

      Make Haste - About the dangers of samsara (endless round of birth and death) and a call to attain Nibbana (release) at the earliest opportunity, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=urgency

      Mental Purity - Five ways prescribed by the Buddha for subduing mental defilements, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=vitakkasantana

      Metta Meditation - Easy to follow instructions for doing the meditation on loving-kindness, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=mettamed

      Noble Eightfold Path - The path for ending unsatisfactoriness, stress and suffering, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=noblepath

      Offerings - On making offering to the Lord Buddha's supreme qualities, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=offerings

      One Hour of Unsatisfactoriness - The unsatisfactoriness that can be felt within the space of an hour, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=onehour

      Reverence - On revering those worthy of reverence, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=reverence

      Sensual Pleasure & Pain - An analysis of sensual pleasure and pain, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=plespain

      Work Stress - An analysis of stress in the work-place, see http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=workstress

      See more youth articles here http://www.vihara.org.au/go?to=youtharticles
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