Admirable Friendship
July 30, 2009

The Buddha once said that the most important external factor in gaining awakening is having admirable friends—or, more precisely, engaging in admirable friendship, which is a little bit different from simply having admirable friends. In the ideal admirable friendship, you’re taking on good qualities from the other friend. The admirable friend is supposed to be a good example in terms of conviction, virtue, generosity, and discernment. He or she helps clear up your misunderstandings on those topics, but the friendship becomes admirable when you find yourself growing in those qualities yourself. After all, the purpose of an admirable friend is to help you recognize who your admirable friends are inside. One of our main problems is that we suffer from delusion. Thoughts come into the mind and it’s hard for us to tell, “Is this a good thought or a bad thought?” Even if part of the mind recognizes that it may be a bad thought, another part says, “Well, no, maybe it’s got its good side after all.”