Who Must Be Friends of Us and Who Must Not

Who Must Be Friends of Us
(a) he who is a helpmate,
i.   he guards the heedless,
ii.  he protects the wealth of the heedless,
iii. he becomes a refuge when you are in danger,
iv. when there are commitments he provides you with double the supply needed.

(b) he who is the same in happiness and sorrow,
i.       he reveals his secrets,
ii.       he conceals one’s own secrets,
iii.       in misfortune he does not forsake one,
iv.       his life even he sacrifices for one’s sake.
(c) he who gives good counsel,
i.     he restrains one from doing evil,
ii.     he encourages one to do good,
iii.     he informs one of what is unknown to oneself,
iv.     he points out the path to heaven.
(d) he who sympathises.
i.   he does not rejoice in one’s misfortune,
ii.   he rejoices in one’s prosperity,
iii.   he restrains others speaking ill of oneself,
iv.   he praises those who speak well of oneself.
Who Must Not Be Friends of Us
(a) he who appropriates a friend’s possessions,
i.      he appropriates his friend’s wealth,
ii.      he gives little and asks much,
iii.      he does his duty out of fear,
iv.      he associates for his own advantage.
(b) he who renders lip-service,
i.      he makes friendly profession as regards the past,
ii.      he makes friendly profession as regards the future,
iii.      he tries to gain one’s favour by empty words,
iv.      when opportunity for service has arisen, he expresses his inability.
(c) he who flatters,
i.      he approves of his friend’s evil deeds,
ii.      he disapproves his friend’s good deeds,
iii.      he praises him in his presence,
iv.      he speaks ill of him in his absence.
(d) he who brings ruin.
(i)        he is a companion in indulging in intoxicants that cause infatuation and heedlessness,
(ii)      he is a companion in sauntering in streets at unseemly hours,
(iii)    he is a companion in frequenting theatrical shows,
(iv)    he is a companion in indulging in gambling which causes heedlessness.”
This is the classification of who must be friends of us and who must not. However, it does not mean that you have to run away from the fool. It is certainly the highest blessing indeed if we do not associate with the fool; not to let oneself become a fool; not to do unwholesome deeds; to remove defilements; to eradicate attachment.
– DN: 31, Sigalaka Sutta, tr, Maurice Walshe, Wisdom Publications, Boston, 1995

– Khudaka Nikaya: 297, Mahamangala Sutta


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