Friendship

True friendship is the whole of the spiritual life.

friends

After some weeks of deep-looking into historical context, mind has grown weary of such comparing and contrasting. Too much discrimination!

I’m applying critical thinking, discernment, to the evolution of Buddhism. What I am seeing confirms that which I suspected. Is this because I expected to find it, or have I truly opened my mind?

There is no source that will satisfy. The western mind has been burned by ‘faith’. Faith does not suffice. Having no external place to ground our confidence, we must look within. Buddha was self-awakened. We must also become self-awakened.

To find Dhamma, we must actually practice, and while engaged in practice, we must continually fan the flame of mindfulness. Mindful, we may become aware of the efficacy of the practice we have chosen.

This process requires no faith, well none of the ‘faith’ that westerners often celebrate– this practice requires study and action. We aren’t bound to any dogma, but we expose mind to all dogmas, unafraid of diversity– not seeking or promulgating a ‘monomyth’.

Our goal is not a ‘goal’– our goal is the cessation of dukkha, it is liberation. The end of discrimination! Do not become imprisoned by goals, and do not wander aimlessly. The noble life is a constantly mindful motion.

This teaching on the importance of friendship has been discovered to be a truly beneficial teaching. But, I can only say this because have discovered it to be true. Discover things for yourself. Strive on with diligence from the island of your own [non]self.

Take a look. Friendship is the Noble Life. Disciples of Buddha are the best friends.

Upaddha Sutta.

From accesstoinsight.org.

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Sakyans. Now there is a Sakyan town named Sakkara. There Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, “This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie.”[1]

“Don’t say that, Ananda. Don’t say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.

And how does a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, develop & pursue the noble eightfold path? There is the case where a monk develops right view dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. He develops right resolve… right speech… right action… right livelihood… right effort… right mindfulness… right concentration dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. This is how a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, develops & pursues the noble eightfold path.

“And through this line of reasoning one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life: It is in dependence on me as an admirable friend that beings subject to birth have gained release from birth, that beings subject to aging have gained release from aging, that beings subject to death have gained release from death, that beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair have gained release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. It is through this line of reasoning that one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.”

Notes

1.
As AN 8.54 points out, this means not only associating with good people, but also learning from them and emulating their good qualities.
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