Friendship



One day after school, Mark walks to home and spots someone who falls down on the ground, all of his goods are scattered on the ground, including his jacket, books, walkman, baseball bat, and so forth. Without a doubt, Mark quickly helps him and gathers all of his belonging. Once they finish wrapping up, Mark greets and chats with that person named Billy.

Over time, they become good friend and hang out together in the school environment. They even go to the same high school. One day, about four years after their first meeting, Billy invites Mark to visit his house. They play games, eat some food, and chat about many things. As they sit together on the porch of the house, Billy asks Mark:
"Do you ever wonder why I brought so much stuff on that day when we first met?"

Mark shakes his head. Billy says "I wanted to go home in a hurry so that I could take some sleeping pills of my mother. I was thinking to commit suicide by drinking lots of those pills.”

"Oh really!!!" says Mark with a stunning face. "Why would you do that?" Asks Mark further.

"Because no one really cares about me, including my own parents. But the intention was eventually abandoned because you helped me without knowing me at first place. At that moment I felt that we would become friends and I would not waste this friendship. "

Recalling the story above, generous attitude is very important in daily life. The simplest example that we could learn is to greet others kindly. Not only to train ourselves to become a friendly and hospitable person, but also, who knows that our generous greeting may become a very valuable action to save a person’s life.

Of course not all friends can become good friends. In many cases, some people pretend to be best friends. However, in the end, those people only take advantages and may harm others. Therefore, in the Manggala Sutta, the Buddha advises that to gain blessings in this life, at first, one should choose the right environment to hang out with, meaning that one should hang out with people that are wise.


The Buddha once explained to a young man named Sigala about things that can be used as benchmarks to establish friendship. There are four behaviors that can be observed if a person just pretends to be good friend:

A person who always tries to take advantage of you

A person who speaks differently with what he/she does.

A person who likes to flatter and pretend to be nice.

A person who leads his/her friend to spends wealth just for fun.

 
On the other hand, there are also four behaviors or actions that can be observed if a person can become a real good friend:

A person who likes to help without asking anything in return.

A person who cares his/her friend condition.

A person who shares good advices.

A person who always together and loyal no matter his/her friend is happy or in trouble.

Inevitably, some people always complain that their friends are not good friends. However, a good attitude must start from ourselves. There's a saying that to be a good friend, one should do good deeds to others and perform appropriately as a good friend.
Indeed the reality is not always smooth. Therefore, we need Wisdom. When come across people who are not good, it does not mean there is no good friend. Be confident, there must be a good friend among friends that are not good. 

As natural law, common tendencies will bring together two good friends. In fact, if both parties have different types and trends, their friendship may not last long. There will be a time, sooner or later, one of them will be left or abandoned.
By Understanding this condition, the Dhamma is always reminding us that if we start training our mind, speak friendly and calm, act properly, it will be a bridge for us to meet a true good friend.

Friendship is like a plant, to be healthy, tough and to survive in the long term; it should be watered, fertilized, and taken care properly day by day. Therefore friendship should also be cultivated with willingness to care each other, right speech and action, and be preserved with fidelity.

Narasiharama, August 3rd, 2010
Bhikkhu Saccadhammo