A true "friend".

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A true "friend".

Postby Individual » Sat Jun 13, 2009 10:19 pm

Last night, while walking the dog I heard some guy screaming and cursing at somebody on his cell phone. Much of what he was saying was accusing his friend of not being a real friend because he wasn't supporting him vocally in some kind of conflict. It bothered me a bit because it reminded me of the types of manipulative arguments that my so-called "friends" used to make.

For review: What did the Buddha say is a bad friend and what did the Buddha say is a real friend?

As I see it, true friendship is defined by goodwill (metta), with no strings attached.

Typically, though, there is a very common misunderstanding of what a good friend really is. It seems as though most people define a friend as a person with whom we associate with for mutual benefit, like a sort of selfish alliance or sports team. So, the friend of my friend must also be my friend, even if this other person is a scumbag. And also, the enemy of my friend must also be my enemy, even if my friend was in the wrong and my friend's enemy was in the right in this conflict. This is the way that allied nations might turn a blind eye to eachother's war crimes or how athletes might turn a blind eye to teammates cheating, or using steroids.

The common notion of friendships also implies arbitrary social obligations. Not all people have the same interests or the same degree of want or need for social interaction. So, a "friend" may ask you to go out and do something you don't want to do, and if you reject him continuously, he may begin to question your friendship, even though your goodwill towards him hasn't changed.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: A true "friend".

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:01 am

Individual wrote:For review: What did the Buddha say is a bad friend and what did the Buddha say is a real friend?

Hi ind.,

Seven qualities of a good friend:

1. He gives what is hard to give
2. He does what is hard to do
3. He endures what is hard to endure
4. He reveals his secrets to you
5. He keeps your secrets
6. When misfortunes strike, he doesn't abandon you
7. When you're down and out, he doesn't look down on you

(from Majjhima Nikaya 53)
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Re: A true "friend".

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jun 14, 2009 1:05 am

One of my favorite passages about friendship in the Suttas:

The Bhikkhu Ananda approached me, paid homage to me, sat down to one side, and said: Venerable sir, this is half of the holy life, that is, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship.” Then the Buddha said, “Not so, Ananda! Not so, Ananda! This is the entire holy life, Ananda, that is, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship. When one has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, it is to be expected that he will develop and cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path.”

Samyutta Nikaya 3.18
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Re: A true "friend".

Postby Individual » Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:03 am

TheDhamma wrote:Seven qualities of a good friend:

1. He gives what is hard to give
2. He does what is hard to do
3. He endures what is hard to endure
4. He reveals his secrets to you
5. He keeps your secrets
6. When misfortunes strike, he doesn't abandon you
7. When you're down and out, he doesn't look down on you

(from Majjhima Nikaya 53)

The quote you use is correct, but the citation does not seem to be right. This is the 53rd sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya... I also checked to see if it was the PTS page# too and it doesn't seem to be that either.

Here is the right passage, from MN (not sure which #, and it would take a while to count):

http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html

Pañhamamittasuttam First on friends

004.05. Bhikkhus, a friend endowed with seven things should be associated. What seven? Gives something difficult to give, does something difficult to do, pardons somebody difficult to pardon, hidden good qualities he discloses, hidden bad qualities he further hides, does not let down one in difficulty, does not belittle even a small gift. A friend endowed with these seven should be associated.

A friend gives something difficult to give and does something difficult to do.
Hidden good qualities are disclosed and hidden evil are further hidden
Does not let down a friend in difficulty and does not belittle even a small gift.
If these qualities are seen in someone, he should be associated as a friend.


The sutta after that is good too:
Dutiyamittasuttam Second on friends

004.06. Bhikkhus, a friend endowed with seven things should be associated, even when repelled should be followed after What seven?

Is loveable and agreeable, is reverential, developed, does what he says, says something deep and does not get involved unsuitably. Bhikkhus, a friend endowed with these seven things should be associated, even when repelled should be followed after .

Amiability, reverence, development, not going beyond his words,
And saying something deep, does not get involved,
If these qualities are evident in a person, he should be associated as a friend,
For one's own good, that friendship should not be destroyed.



TheDhamma wrote:One of my favorite passages about friendship in the Suttas:

The Bhikkhu Ananda approached me, paid homage to me, sat down to one side, and said: Venerable sir, this is half of the holy life, that is, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship.” Then the Buddha said, “Not so, Ananda! Not so, Ananda! This is the entire holy life, Ananda, that is, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship. When one has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, it is to be expected that he will develop and cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path.”

Samyutta Nikaya 3.18

That's been in my signature, for a while. :thumbsup:

Also, from the Sigalovada Sutta (DN 31)

Four Bad Friends and Their Characteristics

There are these four types who can be seen as false or bad friends pretending to be true or good friends:
1. one who takes anything
2. one who is a great talker or only pays lip-service by making empty promises
3. one who flatters or only says pleasant things
4. one who is a fellow-spendthrift or debauched companion.

1. The first bad friend, who takes anything, has four characteristics:
(i) taking everything from you
(ii) Wanting a lot for very little (or wanting much in return for giving only a little)
(iii) doing service only when he gets into trouble.
(iv) seeking only his own advantage.

2. The second bad friend, who is a great talker, has also four characteristics:
(i) talking of favours in the past
(ii) talking of favours in the future
(iii) trying to please you with empty promises or mouthing empty promises of goodwill
(iv) pleading inability owing to some disaster when something needs to be done in the present.

3. The third bad friend, who flatters, has also four characteristics:
(i) agreeing to the bad actions of you
(ii) also, agreeing to the good actions of you
(iii) praising you in your presence
(iv) disparaging you behind your back.

4. The fourth bad friend, who is a fellow-spendthrift or who debauches, also has four characteristiocs:
(i) being a companion when indulging in strong drink
(ii) being a companion when haunting the streets at unfitting times
(iii) being a companion when frequenting shows and entertainments
(iv) being a companion when indulging in gambling.

Four Good Friends and Their Characteristics

There are these four types can be seen to be good or true friends. They are orderly:
1. one who is helpful
2. one who is the same in happy and unhappy times
3. one who points out what is good for you
4. one who is sympathetic.

1. The first good friend, who is helpful, has four characteristics:
(i) looking for you when you are drunk
(ii) looking for your possessions when you are drunk
(iii) being a refuge for you are in trouble
(iv) leting you have twice what you ask for when some business is to be done.

2. The second good friend, who is the same in happy and unhappy times, has four characteristics:
(i) telling you his secrets
(ii) keeping your secrets
(iii) not forsaking you when you are in trouble
(iv) sacrificing even his life for you.

3. The third good friend, who points out what is good for you, has four characteristics:
(i) keeping you from wrongdoing, [it means "restraining you from doing the ten unwholesome courses of action: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, telling lies, slandering, harsh speech, frivolous talk, covetousness, ill will, and wrong view"]
(ii) supporting you in doing good, [it means "encouraging you to do the ten courses of wholesome Kamma(= no-killing, no-stealing, no-sexual misconcduct, no-teling lies, no-slandering, no-harsh speech, no-frivolous talk or reasonable talk, no-covetousness, no-ill will, and right view), to give offerings, to take five precepts, and to practice meditation"]
(iii) informing you of what you do not know
(iv) pointing out the path to heaven.

4. The fourth good friend, who is sympathetic, has four characteristics:
(1) not rejoicing at your misfortune
(2) rejoicing at your good fortune
(3) stopping others who speak against you
(4) commending others who speak in praise of you.


Dhammapada 61
If, in your course, you don't meet your equal, your better, then continue your course, firmly, alone. There's no fellowship with fools.


Dhammapada 78
Don't associate with bad friends. Don't associate with the low. Associate with admirable friends. Associate with the best.


EDIT:

Typo fix.
Last edited by Individual on Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: A true "friend".

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:50 am

Individual wrote:The quote you use is correct, but the citation does not seem to be right. This is the 53rd sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya... I also checked to see if it was the PTS page# too and it doesn't seem to be that either.

Here is the right passage, from MN (not sure which #, and it would take a while to count):

http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ha-e1.html

Hi ind.,

Okay, thanks. I'll check for the correct citation when I get the chance or if you find it first you can let me know here.

:thanks:
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Re: A true "friend".

Postby Individual » Sun Jun 14, 2009 2:55 am

TheDhamma wrote:
Individual wrote:The quote you use is correct, but the citation does not seem to be right. This is the 53rd sutta of the Majjhima Nikaya... I also checked to see if it was the PTS page# too and it doesn't seem to be that either.

Here is the right passage, from MN (not sure which #, and it would take a while to count):

http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html

Hi ind.,

Okay, thanks. I'll check for the correct citation when I get the chance or if you find it first you can let me know here.

:thanks:

I fixed a typo. Second link was supposed to be this:
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html

You could cite that as the "Pathama Mitta Sutta", the fifth sutta of the Devatavaggo, in AN... As for what number that is in the AN, that would take a lot of counting.

EDIT:

The sutta is also on Accesstoinsight here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

AN 7.35
PTS: A iv 31
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: A true "friend".

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:48 am

Individual wrote:The sutta is also on Accesstoinsight here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

AN 7.35
PTS: A iv 31


Thank you! That was fast work! I should have known, it's in the Anguttara Nikaya!

:thanks:
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Re: A true "friend".

Postby Rui Sousa » Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:13 pm

:thumbsup:

Nice thread, excellent reading.
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