Title- Buddha’s Talks-One Should Have Good Friends



If a person is surrounded with the good friends being faithful and helpful to him, it will be like as the supports for success in the work he has to do. On the contrary, if his friends and companions are not the good ones but they are the wicked ones intending to have him fallen into trouble, or the unwise who will push him to a wrong path, his life will experience disadvantages only.




Good methods, advice and ideas are inevitably required for one to be successful in life. Good methods and advice can be obtained only from the friends and teachers who are more intelligent and experience than him. Buddha preached that “Pantitananca sevana”, wise men should be adhered to and be friends with. One should look for, and be friends with the wise men who can help advise and guide him to a good path, as well as admonish and instruct him so that he will be able to stand in a conscientious life. At the same time, he should be careful particularly not to be friends with the evil, unwise, foolish (‘bhalanan’).




Concerning companionship, one cannot get to the wrong path, only after differentiating the companions into a wise upright, conscientious one, an unwise, wicked one, and an unwise, foolish one. He should have an ability in order to differentiate them by looking their deeds rather than their words. One should be careful not to experience a kind of event, such as knowing of the evil of a person only at the time he met a calamity, as a saying: “being notice of bitter only after chewing longer”.




The prince Ajatasat adhered to Ashin Devadatta as a teacher who as an unwise, wicked person sending him to the wrong path. He followed what his teacher advised. Ajatasat who himself was weak in knowledge was unable to differentiate a wise, upright, conscientious person from man unwise, wicked person: “Asevanaca byalanan” (It is better not to be friends with the foolish ones). As a result, he killed his own father and committed one of the five great misdeeds which led him to niraya at death. If one is in the relation of friends to those ones, he will finally get to the disadvantageous life.




There was a case that due to a foolish pupil (disciple), a teacher (master) got into trouble, as that due to a foolish teacher (master), a pupil (disciple) got into trouble. Although one himself was a wise, upright, conscientious teacher (master), and besides, he knew that a pupil (disciple) who lived together with him, was a foolish, he still tolerated and lived with him, thinking a possibility of having a discipline. On the other hand, there was a kind of foolish who did not admit his guilt or evil deed, but made his teacher troubled. Once, as Thera Maha-kassapa sojourned in a monastery together with his two disciple bhikkhus, he admonished a foolish disciple bhikkhu several times. However, the foolish disciple even blamed his teacher. He did not mend his evil habit and admit deterioration of a duty incumbent on a bhikkhu. Consequently, feeling ill-will, he set the monastery on fire and ran away, while Thera Maha-kassapa was going out. Knowing that event, Buddha preached as follows:




“Bhikkhus. The foolish are these two kinds: one who does not see the guilt as it is, and one who does not tolerate it in line with the ‘dhamma’ when the guilt is revealed”, said Buddha.


{Icca Sutta}




One needs to have friendly relation with “Kalayana mitta” (the upright, conscientious companions) for the sake of well-being in the next existence as it is important to be friends with and approach the good teacher, having the good friends, in the affair of the present world. As there is a saying: “Meeting one another of the upright, conscientious people through flourished news”, the upright, conscientious people can have a good relation with one another only longer, and so do the wicked people. Those who want to become either the upright, conscientious ones, or the complaisant Buddhist, should listen attentively the ‘dhamma’ preached by the upright conscientious. They should approach, and study them. Only those upright conscientious ones can re-preach and re-instruct the ‘dhamma’ of Buddha.




Once, the ‘devas’ who became the powerful devas at the devas world due to the result of their preaching of the ‘dhamma’ in the past, arrived at the Jetavana Monastery where Buddha sojourned. They individually addressed to Buddha on the benefits of having friends with the upright, conscientious people. Then Buddha preached and instructed as follows:





“One should be friends with the upright, conscientious ones. He should do having friendly relation to the upright, conscientious people. If the ‘dhamma’ of the upright conscientious people have been understood, one can free from the complete misery”, said Buddha.


{Sapbhi Sutta}




‘Friend’ is one who would like to organize and persuade his companion to be with the same habit. If one has the habit the same as that of wicked ones, it will make him disadvantageous. One will be able to resist organizing of the wicked people or the immoral foolish people. He will find out the “Kalayana mitta” (the good, conscientious friends) and be friends with them so that he will not commit the evil habits and demerit deeds, as well as he will observe the precepts.




The friends living together would have the same character. A wicked person having the evil nature would organize a good nature person, who came to him to be friends with, to be wicked like him. This is called ‘dissemination’. Therefore, if one happened to be friends with a wicked friend, he would be changed into a wicked one. He will aslo bear a bad reputation and dispraised by others. As for this, Buddha preached as follows:




“Those who adhered to the wicked people similarly had the unpleasant odour in abundance, as a certain person packed the rotten fish with ‘thaman’ grass, and the grass had the unpleasant odour in abundance. Those who adhered to the wise men similarly was scented in abundance, as a certain person packed the ‘rhododendron’ flowers with ‘agati’ leaves, and the ‘agati’ leaves of that person was scented in abundance”, said Buddha.


{Sukha pattana Sutta}





Although it is easy to have a friend, it depends on one’s wisdom so that he has to have a good friend. Therefore, what is ‘good friend’? What kind of characters are to be completed for a person being regarded as a good friend? Buddha preached as follows that he who has been completed with seven characters has to be regarded as a good friend, but it needs to be completed with seven characters in the whole. It needs to bear in mind particularly that one has to be completed with those seven characters in the whole in order to become a good friend.




“A friend being completed with these seven kinds of characters should be adhered. What seven kinds are: a friend gives something which is difficult to be given; he does an activity which is difficult to be done; besides, he tolerates either that person’s words of dispraising him or matter which is difficult to be tolerated; he tells that person about his secret matter; he keeps that person’s secret matter secret; he does not abandon that person because of losing the property of that person and does not abandon when his friend is in dangerous situation. A certain man has those characters. One who wants to have a good friend, should adhere that kind of friend”, said Buddha.


{Pathama Mitta Sutta}






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