|Getting to hear the Dharma is the start.|
"This is half of the purified life,* venerable sir: noble friendship, noble association, noble companionship!**"
- [*The way leading to the supreme, namely, to nirvana. **As AN 8.54 points out, this means more than associating with noble ones, for it includes LEARNING (hearing the Dharma) from them and emulating the noble qualities they evince.]
|Ananda reflected and figured it out.|
"When a meditator has noble friends, noble associates, noble companions, such a person person can be expected to [hear the Dharma and] practice and develop the Noble Eightfold Path [leading to enlightenment and nirvana].
"How does a meditator with noble friends, associates, and companions [get to hear] pursue and develop the Noble Eightfold Path?
"In one case a meditator develops right view dependent on withdrawal [seclusion from unwholesome, defiled states], dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in letting go (relinquishment).
"One develops right intention... right speech... right action... right livelihood... right effort... right mindfulness... right concentration dependent on withdrawal, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in letting go.
"This is how a meditator with noble friends, associates, and companions develops and pursues the Noble Eightfold Path.
"Through this line of reasoning, one may know how noble friendship, noble association, noble companionship is actually the whole of the purified life:
The Buddha as our best noble friend
|I've done a lot of bad things, sir! - Listen.|
- beings who are subject to rebirth gain release from rebirth
- beings who are subject to aging gain release from aging [and sickness]
- beings who are subject to death gain release from death
- beings who are subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair gain release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair.