Author Topic: Good Friends or Bad Friends?  (Read 26693 times)

DS Star

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Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« on: June 03, 2012, 04:01:21 PM »
In Sigalovada Sutra, Buddha gave teachings on how to distinguish good friends from bad friends.

There are four types that are not really your friends, but will make your life miserable in the long run:

1. The leech whose appropriates your possessions
2. The bull-shitter whose manipulates you
3. The boot-licker whose flatters you
4. The party-animal who encourages you to do the same

A good friend, on the other hand, is one who...

1. is always ready to help you
2. is steady and loyal
3. provides good advice
4. is sympathetic

I work in commercial world for so many years and I can confidently say that there is no true friend in working place. Those who I thought are friends will be my 'friends' as long as I can benefit them. Once there is a problem, they'll turned their backs, worse, a few would 'stabbed' my back even I have helped them so many times...

However, I am happy to note that I found true friends in Dharma center, though not all but there are quite a number of them. They are different because they really think for your benefits. I am glad that they are people around me that I can really rely on in bad times :)

Bad Friends come for Good Times;
Good Friends stayed in Bad Times.



Aurore

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2012, 09:30:22 PM »
To sum up your points, good friends are those who stick through with you even if you have nothing to give and bad friends run the moment they get nothing out of you.

I would say that Dharma friends is much more than the usual friends most people perceived as good friends. The good friends who doesn't want anything from you may not be able to give what Dharma friends can ... which is support, methods and advice in Dharma to aid our path to a higher state. Hence, the motivation can be considered one step higher than some friends we consider as good friends. Good dharma friends may not be as nice to you but they are sincere towards your transformation. They may even be bitchy and firm. However, it's all for the sake of the betterment of you.

There is a saying that goes like this - one does not have to be nice to be compassionate.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2012, 02:03:14 AM »
I would like to add that if they do not stay, then they are not friends in the first place.  You can give them other labels.  A friend is someone you know, whom you like, and who you can trust.

If we were to have such friends (leech, bull-shitter, boot-licker, party animal) hanging around us, I would not call them friends.  A friend is someone who will always be there for you, through thick and thin.  Someone who laughs at your jokes however silly, someone who will cry with you & not at you, someone who supports your decision though she has a very different opinion.

Tenzin K

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2012, 07:23:22 AM »
Interesting post!

Friends can be in so many types/categories but ultimately friends are what we would want to support and to be supported when they or we are in difficult time. Of course if we are in dharma and our friends are in dharma our motivation and actions always towards benefiting others with pure and sincerity.

Support and guidance is very important and not all friends are in dharma or at the same level if thinking. So sine we are the one that learn the dharma and we should put it in to practice and show the right example. Expecting other to do the same we need to show by practice and get them understand our motivation. 

sonamdhargey

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2012, 07:26:38 AM »
Good friends leads you to correct teachings while bad friends are the ones who deceives and causes people to fall into the evil paths, into suffering. They deludes others with false doctrines in order to obstruct their Buddhist practice.

I found this article rather interesting about frienship:

Two types of friends
As far as the laity is concerned, the Tipitaka abounds with examples to show that the guidance of good friends is very essential for life here and hereafter. The Buddha has described two types of friends, Kalyana Mitta (the good friend) and Papa Mitta (the evil friend). A famous stanza in the Dhammapada says, "Do not keep company with evil friends or those who are mean. Associate with the good and bold friends." (Na bhaje papake mitte-na bhaje purisadhame, bhajetha mitta kalyane-bhajetha purisuttame). All parents should instil into the minds of their children the noble advice conveyed by this stanza. The Buddha has advised us to lead a lonely life in case we cannot find a decent friend. But never keep the company of a fool. (eka cariyam dalham kariya-natthi balo sahayaka). Mahamangala Sutra which enumerates 38 blessings to guide one in life's journey starts with avoiding the company of fools as the first blessing.

The Buddha's advice regarding friends could be well comprehended by absorbing the contents of the Sigalovada Sutra. Sigala, who had very devout Buddhist parents was indifferent to religion. The Buddha explained inter alia who an evil friend and a good friend are:- A foe in the guise of a friend or a Papa Mitta will appropriate a friend's possessions, render mere lip service, flatter, will give little with the idea of taking much, will associate for his own advantage, tries to gain favour by empty words and when the opportunity arises for action, he will give an excuse and express his inability to render any service. An evil friend also praises and approves his friends bad deeds whlle the good deeds go unnoticed and upraised. He praises the friend in his presence and rebukes him in his absence.

The Buddha has explained further how a foe in the guise of a friend (mitta patirupaka) brings about the ruin of a person in four ways. He is a companion in indulging in intoxicants which gives rise to infatuation and heedlessness. He is a ready companion to frequent the streets at ungodly hours. He is a companion to attend theatrical shows and he is a companion in gambling which causes one's downfall.

More at this link:http://www.maithri.com/links/articles/bud_frndshp.htm

dondrup

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2012, 07:50:12 AM »
Our best friend could become our worst enemy.  Our worst enemy could turn out to be our best friend. Then there are those strangers who are indifferent to us.  Hence they are neither our friends nor enemies.  Who are these friends, enemies or strangers then?

When we die at the end of our life, we leave behind all our friends, enemies and strangers.  It does not matter what the relationships were before we die. We will be completely separated from them physically.  We won’t even remember or recognize them in the following life.

Hence we should not develop attachment to our friends, aversion to our enemies and indifference to strangers who will not help us upon our death.  However we should develop a good samaya or connection with our spiritual guide. Our spiritual guide is the only true friend who will help us life after life until we accomplish enlightenment.

buddhalovely

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2012, 12:15:17 PM »
The opposite is anxiety, worry, stress and paranoia caused by dividing people into 'good' and 'bad'; one can worry forever if a good friend may not be a bad person after all, and thus spoiling trust and friendship.
A result which one needs to avoid is apathy as a result of 'not caring'.
Equanimity is the basis for unconditional, altruistic love, compassion and joy for other's happiness and Bodhicitta.
When we discriminate between friends and enemies, how can we ever want to help all sentient beings?
Equanimity is an unselfish, de-tached state of mind which also prevents one from doing negative actions

biggyboy

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2012, 01:58:34 PM »
At this period of time and age, we are surrounded by the influence of many bad and evil intention 'friends' and the like, that we would require much wisdom to perceive who they are.  Hence, we have to have strong faith to continue improve ourselves with knowledge and to practice so that we can set as an example and inspire whether good friends or bad friends to the correct path or teachings.  Isn't this is what we should do? By practising the 8 Verses of Thought Transformation.  Well, we cannot discard all our good and bad friends just like that if we were to call ourselves as Buddhist.  Bad friends can become our "good friends" once they have the true understanding of Buddhism.  Even 'friends' whom we would have considered as our close friends can turn out to be otherwise. 

A quote to share ....

Because we all share this small planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. That is not just a dream but a necessity.
—His Holiness the Dalai Lama

ratanasutra

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2012, 03:04:55 PM »
Good friends are people who will do whatever it take for us to continue in our spiritual path, by support, encourage us as they only have good motivation for the progress of our spiritual practice while bad friends are the people who discourage us in our spiritual path, always complain and make difficulty for our spiritual path to grow.

There are also good friend outside there who do not join in spiritual path but they never harm us. And they always have good intention towards us and always be there for us, to lend ears to listen to our problems, give advise and have shoulder for us when we cry. They just not in spiritual path but their actions are completely pure motive, sincere and do not want any thing back from us. If we have this good friend, it will be the best if they can engage in spiritual practice.   


Positive Change

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2012, 11:02:07 AM »
As a general rule for me, there are only friends. I would not call bad friends, friends to begin with! Friends are there WITH you through thick and thin, through the good AND the bad times. That is the best indication of friendship for me.

A person who is only there when you are done feels like a bottom feeder, someone who dwells on the hurt and depression of someone else. I find that kinda strange too. It should be a well rounded person in order for me to call them a friend.

I also find it applies both ways too. As friendship, any relationship has to be a two way traffic in order for it to work. Failing which, someone is taking the other for a ride!

hope rainbow

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2012, 11:26:28 AM »
I work in commercial world for so many years and I can confidently say that there is no true friend in working place. Those who I thought are friends will be my 'friends' as long as I can benefit them. Once there is a problem, they'll turned their backs, worse, a few would 'stabbed' my back even I have helped them so many times...

MY dear DS, a perhaps better way to find the people you work with in business or commerce is to find spiritual practitioners that have put their practice above money, above career, etc... this even though they still work hard at the career and the money. You might find a common ground that will help that person to watch more closely how he/she deals with you in the same way as you will find yourself watching how you, yourself, deal with that person.
I'll give you my personal example: In one of my businesses I have a partner of a different faith than mine and who practices seriously. Besides business, we find the time to talk about our practices and share respectfully. During business I am more vigilant as to what I do and how I speak. Why? Because I don't want to be a bad ambassador of Buddhism, nope don't want that karma. And my business partner acts in a similar way.

Manjushri

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2012, 11:40:29 AM »
Really the old saying goes a thousand miles. The good ones stay with you when you have nothing to give in return, through thick and thin. When the bad times come, it is then you will know who your true friends are, as they have no agenda towards you, and expect nothing in return. It is for those who wants something from you and when they realise that you cannot provide them with what they want anymore, then they will not go out of their own way to help you as you are of no use to them anymore.

The world is cruel. Everyone that you meet has the intention of getting something out from you, whether it is a good or bad motivation. But that doesn't mean bad friends cannot be good friends, if you choose to develop something more with them.

In the end, it is what you can give them unconditionally, and without agenda, that would make the biggest impact to respectfully treat you the same. 

DS Star

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2012, 03:37:30 PM »
Our best friend could become our worst enemy.  Our worst enemy could turn out to be our best friend. Then there are those strangers who are indifferent to us.  Hence they are neither our friends nor enemies.  Who are these friends, enemies or strangers then?

When we die at the end of our life, we leave behind all our friends, enemies and strangers.  It does not matter what the relationships were before we die. We will be completely separated from them physically.  We won’t even remember or recognize them in the following life.

Hence we should not develop attachment to our friends, aversion to our enemies and indifference to strangers who will not help us upon our death.  However we should develop a good samaya or connection with our spiritual guide. Our spiritual guide is the only true friend who will help us life after life until we accomplish enlightenment.

Well-said dondrup. You have given me another perspective to look at this issue about friends.

Yes you're right, when death comes, there is no more different between friends, enemies or strangers. We won't be able to remember them. We group them into these 3 categories due to our own bias mind, our own attachment to the people we assume as 'important to us. The truth is there is no permanent friends nor enemies. Everything changes...

RedLantern

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2012, 04:22:51 PM »

We can suggest any adjective for a person as we like,there are no restrictions to it.Those who have a general profile of being nice to others,who we think add something to the society that improves it.To those with whom we don't have such good relations,and acquaintances,we call them bad.A friend is just a friend.We select friends who appeal to us.Before being friends with someone,tell yourself that you will have to accept them with their flaws and weaknesses.Accept and forgive to be good at friendship.

vajratruth

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Re: Good Friends or Bad Friends?
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2012, 04:38:09 PM »
Our best friend could become our worst enemy.  Our worst enemy could turn out to be our best friend. Then there are those strangers who are indifferent to us.  Hence they are neither our friends nor enemies.  Who are these friends, enemies or strangers then?

When we die at the end of our life, we leave behind all our friends, enemies and strangers.  It does not matter what the relationships were before we die. We will be completely separated from them physically.  We won’t even remember or recognize them in the following life.

Hence we should not develop attachment to our friends, aversion to our enemies and indifference to strangers who will not help us upon our death.  However we should develop a good samaya or connection with our spiritual guide. Our spiritual guide is the only true friend who will help us life after life until we accomplish enlightenment.

I appreciate what Dondrup has written here. Friendship looks beyond the ordinary view.

In worldly terms I certainly agree that a good friend is someone with the characteristics as set out in DS Star’s post. However,  with the advantage of having studied even some basic Buddhism our views as to what constitutes a good friend must evolve.

If I regard myself as a good friend to someone I care, would I allow my friend to continue to unconsciously commit acts, which I know will result in negative karma, such as continuing to eat meat and even live animals?

As a good friend, will I still give encouragement to someone to continue in his/her pursuit of fame and career knowing that these things will be of no help at the point of death and after that? Such fame and career might even harm their rebirths.

Will I be prepared to challenge aspects of my friend’s character, which builds his/her ego and self love? Will I support my friend in such a way as to continue him/her to wallow in her miseries and depression?

Ultimately, a good friend, especially one with dharma knowledge must go beyond being nice, kind and loyal. A good friend is essentially one that does not wish to see people they regard as friends end up in the three lower realms. This is definitely not easy as what is ultimately good for our friend may not translate into actions that seem friendly in worldly terms.