Whole of the holy life

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
User avatar
salayatananirodha
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:34 am

Whole of the holy life

Post by salayatananirodha » Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:50 am

"Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.

- Upaddha sutta

How do you have an admirable friend? Do you have to see or talk to them everyday? What if you are not able to live in the proximity of your kalyana mitta but you talk to them online?
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

User avatar
JamesTheGiant
Posts: 407
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Whole of the holy life

Post by JamesTheGiant » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:45 am

salayatananirodha wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 5:50 am
? What if you are not able to live in the proximity of your kalyana mitta but you talk to them online?
It's better than nothing. But real life is several orders of magnitude more valuable than online. A real kalyanamitta is worth moving across the world for.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3959
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Whole of the holy life

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:19 am

Two points which might be helpful here. The first is that before we focus on the forming or maintenance of that admirable friendship, we ought to know what admirable friendship means, and get good at identifying it. Often, we are attracted to people who affirm us or make us feel good, and although that's positive, it is based upon our conditioned responses. We ought to spend some time working out what would be good for us, so that we are better able to respond to it when we see it embodied in someone we meet. This sutta about the sappurisa, or person of integrity, is interesting:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipita ... .than.html

It's a bit extreme, but gives a sense of the care we might want to take in discerning whether a person is going to really have a good influence on us.

Second, it might be worth reflecting upon the second half of the Upaddha Sutta. The Buddha makes it clear that he is talking about following his dhamma, rather than finding or cultivating friendships with like-minded people:
through this line of reasoning one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life: It is in dependence on me as an admirable friend 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, that beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair have gained release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair.
It looks to me as if the Buddha is giving a subtle twist to Ananda's point about camaraderie, companionship and friendship rather than answering it directly.

User avatar
JamesTheGiant
Posts: 407
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:41 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Whole of the holy life

Post by JamesTheGiant » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:38 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:19 am
It looks to me as if the Buddha is giving a subtle twist to Ananda's point about camaraderie, companionship and friendship rather than answering it directly.
Ajahn Brahmali once told me much the same thing,... Kalyanamitta really meant the Buddha, not just good spiritual friends.

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 1559
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: Whole of the holy life

Post by Bundokji » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:43 am

I have the following two comments:

1- The term "the whole of the holy life" is an exaggeration to emphasize the importance and the benefits of admirable friendship. It is a style of communication using metaphoric/poetic language and i would not interpret it literally.

2- Admirable friendship does not have to be another human in flesh and blood. It can be a book, or a dhamma talk you listen to on youtube where you have access to other person's thoughts.

As Sam mentioned in his post, what we find admirable can say more about us than the person we are referring to. A general view of our interests and what we spend our time doing everyday can reveal what we find admirable.

I think when the practitioner becomes really interested in cleansing his mind, his own Kamma will bring him closer to what gives rise to goodness and keeps him away from that which is harmful. Even if he encounters someone who is wise, he would be attentive recognizing wisdom and goodness. Sticking around for a long time usually is not a very good sign in my opinion:
Though all his life a fool associates with a wise man, he no more comprehends the Truth than a spoon tastes the flavor of the soup.
Though only for a moment a discerning person associates with a wise man, quickly he comprehends the Truth, just as the tongue tastes the flavor of the soup.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

paul
Posts: 1130
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 11:27 pm
Location: Vietnam

Re: Whole of the holy life

Post by paul » Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:36 am

"And through this line of reasoning one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life: It is in dependence on me as an admirable friend that beings subject to birth have gained release from birth, that beings subject to ageing have gained release from ageing, that beings subject to death have gained release from death, that beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair have gained release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. It is through this line of reasoning that one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.”—-SN 45:2

The Buddha’s influence has brought about release for many through the ages whom he was never in personal contact with, therefore ‘friendship’ has to be taken in its broad impersonal meaning.
I think friendship is literally ‘the whole of the holy life’ in that if the sense of lovingkindness is present with people in general, then the practice is verified. This does not mean that metta is the whole of the practice. Buddhist cosmology stresses the importance of the human plane and when the practitioner manifests universal love, then it is a sign the other factors of the practice are aligned. The practice does not exist unless that component of universal friendship is present.

User avatar
salayatananirodha
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:34 am

Re: Whole of the holy life

Post by salayatananirodha » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:15 am

These are intriguing interpretations. Excerpt from DN 31:

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

(1) he who is a helpmate,
(2) he who is the same in happiness and sorrow,
(3) he who gives good counsel,
(4) he who sympathises.

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

(i) he guards the heedless,
(ii) he protects the wealth of the heedless,
(iii) he becomes a refuge when you are in danger,
(iv) 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:

(i) he reveals his secrets,
(ii) he conceals one's own secrets,
(iii) in misfortune he does not forsake one,
(iv) 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:

(i) he restrains one from doing evil,
(ii) he encourages one to do good,
(iii) he informs one of what is unknown to oneself,
(iv) he points out the path to heaven.

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

(i) he does not rejoice in one's misfortune,
(ii) he rejoices in one's prosperity,
(iii) he restrains others speaking ill of oneself,
(iv) he praises those who speak well of oneself."

Is a warm-hearted friend not a kalyana mitta? I haven't looked at the pāli.
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3959
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Whole of the holy life

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:30 am

salayatananirodha wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:15 am
Is a warm-hearted friend not a kalyana mitta? I haven't looked at the pāli.
The term in DN 31 is mitto suhado, both terms of which mean "friend", so the meaning seems to be something like good or worthy friend.

Good find!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], BasementBuddhist, cookiemonster and 98 guests