A Noble Friend





The title of today’s Dhamma talk is “How to search for a noble or good friend. Kalyana-mitta in Pali, meaning a good virtuous person wishing for one’s welfare and prosperity.A good friend is highly essential for the worldly and spiritual progress.  If one is devoid of a good friend and associated with feign and treacherous persons, one’s life is not only unprofitable, but will meet with disaster.

To cite as evidence, during the Lord Buddha’s lifetime, there lived at Benares in India, a wealthy multi-millionaire named Mahadhana.  Instead of studying and learning education, professional or business management for his livelihood, he squandered all his riches in pursuit of sense pleasures with a group of evil and treacherous companions.  As the time passed on, his wealth became exhausted and he had to lead a life of destitute beggar.  In connection with this episode, the Lord Buddha commented as follows:

(1)  If he had exerted in his first youthful age in association with good friends on business and trade, he could become a top grade rich man in Benares.  If he had joined the Sangha Order in my teaching and strived, he could have attained arahathood free from mental defilements.

(2)  If he had made an effort in his middle age of social life, he could become a second grade rich man and in my teaching, he could achieve three stages of Path and Fruition and became a noble Anagami person.

(3)  If he could only repent in his third final stage and strive, hi could become a third grade rich man in worldly life and he could attain Sakadagami-hood in my religious Order, attaining two stages of Path and Fruition.

Now let us continue to make a note of the conversation between the Lord Buddha and Ven. Ananda.  At one time, while Ven. Ananda was contemplating in seclusion, it occurred to his mind that ” to associate with a noble friend can result in half accomplishment.”  He then expressed his thought to the Lord Buddha to get the right answer.  The Lord Buddha rejected saying ” Ananda, do not say so , ” and continued “Ananda, in this world, by associating with a noble friend one can achieve full accomplishment. ” Indeed, by approaching the Noblest of the noble friends like me, beings attain liberation from afflictions of old age, sickness and death and also freedom from rebirth in woeful states.

Further, let us take a lesson from the Lord Buddha’s discourse on four kinds of friends recorded in Samyutta Nikaya, mitta sutta; While the Lord Buddha was residing in Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, a celestial deva approached the Lord Buddha in the middle of the night and put forth the questions as follows:

Oh! Lord Buddha-

Who could be a good friend for a traveler?

Who could be a good friend in one’s home?

Who could be a good friend in social or business dealings?

Who could be a good friend for the future rebirth?

The Lord Buddha answered the deva’s questions thus.

Oh! Deva one who accompanies the traveler on the journey offers both physical and moral support which may alleviate tiresomeness on the way.

In a home, parents are noble friends because the mother has to bear the foetus in her womb and the father has to provide all the requisites.  From the time of delivery parents have to nurture the newborn through all the milestones of age, breast feeding, teaching all the worldly education for proper and moral behavior, providing all necessary requisites of life to their utmost.

Good social friend or business associate is one who is helpful in times of need both materially and psychologically or who reciprocates in good deeds and work for mutual benefit.  Selfish and one-sided exploiter cannot be taken as a true friend.  Then, a noble friend is not only needed for this single life, but essential also in future rebirths until one attain Nibbana.  Hence, the wise use to say ” Always be prudent. ”

Let us continue to study the Lord Buddha’s exposition with regard to this fact about a noble friend for the future rebirth,  practicing personally with noble intention of generous offering of givers and requisites (Dana), observance of moral virtue (Sila), repeated contemplation (Bhavana), etc.  the ten skilful practices, abandoning the unwholesome deeds (Puññakiriyavatthu).  One can only be at peace when one has these (10) noble friends for future rebirths as companions.

So, may all you meditators be able to search and associate in worldly life as well as noble friends of dana, sila,bhavana for the future rebirths and attain perpetual bliss of Nibbana freedom from suffering.

Sadhu!…    Sadhu!…    Sadhu!