On associating with the wise - Dhamma Wheel

On associating with the wise

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On associating with the wise

Postby Invincible_Summer » Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:16 am

How is it possible - as a layperson - to be more prudent in "associating with the wise" in modern Western society, when we are expected to mix and mingle with anyone and everyone? Do many of you have "dhamma friends" - friends who are also Buddhist (or maybe of another faith tradition) that you can communicate with about spirituality?

An example from my own experience: I'm currently a college student, and while I'm friendly with most of my classmates, I feel that many of them create a toxic environment by constantly complaining, shifting blame, gossiping, etc. We have a small program and so if I willingly distance myself from my classmates, I would cause more problems for myself.

At the present, I don't have time to find a sangha to try and make "dhamma friends" (who are actually Buddhist). I have a few friends who are actually Christian that I feel are the most "wise," as they also strive to have spiritual wisdom and be mindful ("good witnesses" in Christianspeak).

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Re: On associating with the wise

Postby culaavuso » Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:39 am

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Re: On associating with the wise

Postby cooran » Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:38 am

Hello all,

The article "Association with The Wise" by Bhikkhu Bodhi ... ay_26.html

With metta,
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: On associating with the wise

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:21 am

If one can find no wise companions, it is better to .
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Re: On associating with the wise

Postby chownah » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:54 am

Associating with the wise can be taken at many different levels all of which are helpful in different ways. At the simplest level it teaches that when associating with people and especially when wanting to learn something it is beneficial to consider that some people will have more wisdom in certain things and one should evaluate our friends to determine which ones have that wisdom. You may think that everyone knows this already if you are from a western culture but in some eastern cultures there are influences which draw one away from the wise person and instead getting advice from a rich person, or a powerful person, or an old person, or a person who claims to represent the gods, or from a higher station, or etc. Not everyone looks for wisdom in a person as the place to find good advice. An example of this here is that some people accept the advise of any monk without actually evaluating the monks wisdom.....thinking that all monks are wise....etc.

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Re: On associating with the wise

Postby Feathers » Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:08 am

I don't read the advice to 'associate with the wise' as advice to also cut off completely from those we don't consider wise (and it always worries me a bit, making a judgement on other people like that). It's perfectly possible to be friendly with people, socialise with them, but avoid joining in the gossip etc. And who knows, maybe you'll meet people on your course who are bad about malicious speech but good about other things - and at the very least, you're going to learn a lot of self discipline and watchfulness trying not to join in!

The world is crammed full of people. Obviously, avoid the violent and those who would actually harm you or lead you into serious trouble. But we all have to learn to live with the annoying, the gossip-y, the occasionally deceitful . . . and hope that people will be equally patient with us.

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Re: On associating with the wise

Postby Aloka » Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:46 pm

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Re: On associating with the wise

Postby Kusala » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:45 am


"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

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Re: On associating with the wise

Postby Fitz » Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:45 pm

Hi Invincible_Summer,

I am also a college student trying to practice in a similar situation. This may not be orthodox Theravada wisdom, but I find that people respond to what you put out. If you don't show interest in gossiping and argument, people will not do those things with you. The wise are drawn to the wise, develop your own wisdom. I think wandering alone may be best left to the most serious renunciants.

I think it's definitely possible to find wisdom with your Christian friends. The truth of the Dhamma is built into reality, and the Buddha explains and systematizes this truth. Therefore we Buddhists don't have a monopoly on truth, but other thought traditions and religions have access to it as well. I think it's quite possible that people engaged with another faith are likely to be more tuned into 'Buddhist' wisdom because they have some sort practice, whereas many of the 'nones' have not formal spiritual practice at all.

I have also been consciously searching out for more Dhamma-friends at my school too. I'm looking for people to start a weekly sitting group with, but without much luck yet. You might considering breaking out of your friend group to do something similar. Are you on a small campus like me? Or else kinda stuck in an intensive program with that same small group?


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Re: On associating with the wise

Postby daverupa » Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:59 pm

If the Xian folk are interested in early Xian history at all, they may be keen on playing a bit with the practices of the Desert Fathers or maybe the early Irish monastics, groups which resemble the early Sangha in certain ways. That might make for a good foundation for an interfaith sitting group; a college might really be a good environment for such a thing. ... meditation

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Re: On associating with the wise

Postby Invincible_Summer » Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:24 pm

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Re: On associating with the wise

Postby suwapan » Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:38 pm

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Re: On associating with the wise

Postby Ananda26 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:59 pm

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