Ananda approached the Enlightened One and, having respectfully bowed, sat down to one side. Then sitting there Ananda said to the Buddha, "Noble friendship, noble companionship, noble camaraderie is half of the supreme life (brahmacarya)."
"When one has noble friends, companions, and comrades, one can be expected to develop and pursue the Noble Eightfold Path. And how does one with noble friends, companions, and comrades develop and pursue the Noble Eightfold Path?
dependent on seclusion, dispassion, cessation -- which result in relinquishment. This is how one with noble friends, companions, and comrades develops and pursues the Noble Eightfold Path.
"In another sense one may know how noble friendship, noble companionship, noble camaraderie is the whole of the supreme life: It is by relying on me as a noble friend [kalyana-mitta, teacher, guide, model] that beings subject to birth have gained release from birth, that beings subject to aging have gained release from aging, that beings subject to death have gained release from death.
"Indeed, beings subject to [dukkha] sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair have gained release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair.
"In this sense also noble friendship, noble companionship, noble camaraderie is the whole of the supreme life."
The Benefits of Noble Friendship
"When one has noble friends, companions, and comrades, it is to be expected that one will be virtuous, will dwell restrained in accordance with the training rules, consummate in ennobling behavior and conduct, and will train -- having undertaken the training rules -- seeing danger in the slightest fault...." (Udana 4.1).
Detachment and Compassion in Early Buddhism
Elizabeth J. Harris
To people looking at Buddhism through the medium of English, the practice of compassion and detachment can appear incompatible, especially for those who consider themselves to be socially and politically engaged.
In contemporary usage, compassion brings to mind outward-moving concern for others, while detachment suggests aloofness and withdrawal from the world. Yet Buddhism recommends both as admirable and necessary qualities to be cultivated. This raises questions such as the following:
- Compassion means to relieve suffering, detachment to remain aloof from the world, so how can the two be practiced together?
- Does Buddhist detachment imply a lack of concern for humanity?
- Is the Buddhist concept of compassion too passive, connected only with the inward-looking eye of meditation, or can it create real change in society? More>>