Friends and Foes According to Buddhism - Part 2

Buddha with Disciples

Compiled by Jayaram V

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Those who are foes in the guise of friends

"These four, young householder, should be understood as foes in the guise of friends:

-- He who appropriates a friend's possessions,

-- He who renders lip-service,

-- He who flatters,

-- He who brings ruin.

(1) "In four ways, young householder, should one who appropriates be understood as a foe in the guise of a friend:

-- He appropriates his friend's wealth,

-- He gives little and asks much,

-- He does his duty out of fear,

-- He associates for his own advantage.

(2) "In four ways, young householder, should one who renders lip-service be understood as a foe in the guise of a friend:

-- He makes friendly profession as regards the past,

-- He makes friendly profession as regards the future,

-- He tries to gain one's favor by empty words,

-- When opportunity for service has arisen, He expresses his inability.

(3) "In four ways, young householder, should one who flatters be understood as a foe in the guise of a friend:

-- He approves of his friend's evil deeds,

-- He disapproves his friend's good deeds,

-- He praises him in his presence,

-- He speaks ill of him in his absence.

(4) "In four ways, young householder, should one who brings ruin be understood as a foe in the guise of a friend:

-- He is a companion in indulging in intoxicants that cause infatuation and heedlessness,

-- He is a companion in sauntering in streets at unseemly hours,

-- He is a companion in frequenting theatrical shows,

-- He is a companion in indulging in gambling which causes heedlessness."

(5) Thus spoke the Exalted One. And when the Master had thus spoken, He spoke yet again:

-- The friend who appropriates,

-- The friend who renders lip-service,

-- The friend that flatters,

-- The friend who brings ruin, these four as enemies the wise behold, avoid them from afar as paths of peril.

Those who are warm-hearted friends

"These four, young householder, should be understood as warm-hearted friends:

-- He who is a helpmate,

-- He who is the same in happiness and sorrow,

-- He who gives good counsel,

-- He who sympathizes.

(1) "In four ways, young householder, should a helpmate be understood as a warm-hearted friend:

-- He guards the heedless,

-- He protects the wealth of the heedless,

-- He becomes a refuge when you are in danger,

-- when there are commitments He provides you with double the supply needed.

(2) "In four ways, young householder, should one who is the same in happiness and sorrow be understood as a warm-hearted friend:

-- He reveals his secrets,

-- He conceals one's own secrets,

-- in misfortune He does not forsake one,

-- his life even He sacrifices for one's sake.

(3) "In four ways, young householder, should one who gives good counsel be understood as a warm-hearted friend:

-- He restrains one from doing evil,

-- He encourages one to do good,

-- He informs one of what is unknown to oneself,

-- He points out the path to heaven.

(4) "In four ways, young householder, should one who sympathizes be understood as a warm-hearted friend:

-- He does not rejoice in one's misfortune,

-- He rejoices in one's prosperity,

-- He restrains others speaking ill of oneself,

-- He praises those who speak well of oneself."

Thus spoke the Exalted One. And when the Master had thus spoken, He spoke yet again:

The friend who is a helpmate,
The friend in happiness and woe,
The friend who gives good counsel,
The friend who sympathizes too —
These four as friends the wise behold
and cherish them devotedly
as does a mother her own child.

The wise and virtuous
shine like a blazing fire.
He who acquires his wealth
in harmless ways like to a
bee that honey gathers,6
riches mount up for him
like ant hill's rapid growth.

With wealth acquired this way,
a layman fit for household life,
in portions four divides his wealth:
thus will He friendship win.

One portion for his wants He uses,7
two portions on his business spends,
the fourth for times of need He keeps.

by Jayaram V

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Source: The Wheel Publication No. 14 (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1985). Transcribed from the print edition in 1995 by Barry Kapke under the auspices of the DharmaNet Dharma Book Transcription Project, with the kind permission of the Buddhist Publication Society. Copyright © 1985 Buddhist Publication Society Only the part on friendship has been reproduced here from the essay. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted, and redistributed in any medium. It is the author's wish, however, that any such republication and redistribution be made available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis and that translations and other derivative works be clearly marked as such.

Image Attribution: The image of the Buddha used in this article is either in public domain or licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.