Friendship and love

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible in order to double-check alignment to Theravāda orthodoxy.
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Friendship and love

Post by ary » Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:03 am

First of all, I´m Ary, I´m a brazilian student who´s been trying to start a regular meditation practice and also learning more about Budhism. I think I´ll introduce myself later, at the "introductionsf" board.

My english is not perfect, so, please, if you don´t understand me, feel free to ask me what I meant.

My question is about the role of friendship and love in the Theravada tradition. I´ve read a post called "Kindness higher than noble friendship?" where you actually discussed this issue, but I´m not really sure if I´ve understood it properly. I have the impression that the conclusions of that topic were the same of this video of Yuthadamo´s channel on youtube" onclick=";return false;. In this video, I think he´s saying that Budhism can´t help exactly with managing relationships, but it has more to do with making clear that relationships are kinds of attachments and that we shouldn´t give them so much importance.

What is not clear to me is how much importance do they exactly have? May I divide the question into some specific ´points:

-Is friendship (= to miss someone´s presence, to talk with him or her everyday, to hang up together, to share secrets, to make them suprise birthday parties, etc etc) and love (= to want to be with another person the entire life, to want to raise a family, to make sex with that person, etc) both illusions?

-In a perfect state of affairs, should these things I called friendship and love just end?

-If not, are friendship and love (as I called them) somehow useful in our existence in this world?

-If yes, if these things should disappear, what kind of relationship between beings should replace them?

-Is it correct to think that these ideal relationships should be totally impersonal and independet of any particular personality of the people involved? In other words, should we have the same relationship (the same behaviours) with our relatives and total strangers, just as they were equal?

-If a person decides to isolate herself from society and spend her whole life isolated, can this person reach enlighment?

-If yes, why monks teach Budhism to others? Why should we care about other people, about peace, about porverty, if we can just get out of community and meditate about reality in itself and get rid of it?

Well, sorry about the long post, but I wanted to explain my doubts in the best way posible. Greetings from Brasil and thank you for the help. :)

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Re: Friendship and love

Post by Guy » Wed Dec 22, 2010 6:14 am

I like to enjoy the company of my friends while they are around, but, when it is time for them to go their own way and for me to go my own way, I don't miss them.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Re: Friendship and love

Post by ary » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:40 am

Any other opinions??

Still not so clear what may be the "official" view of the need of friendship, love, or caring for other people in Budhism. I have the impression that Budhism can´t mean total isolation, but don´t know how to explain that.

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Re: Friendship and love

Post by adosa » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:00 am

"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

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Re: Friendship and love

Post by Virgo » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:07 am

Welcome Ary.

Your English is great.

Friendship is very important. Noble friendship is a little bit different though, because it means being friends with someone who teaches you the path and who may or may not support you on it.

You should read this exposition on the Maha-Mangala Sutta:

Also, there are four factors which condition wisdom and the attaining of sotapanna. They are: (i) companionship with those of merit and good character (sappurisa sa.mseva); (ii) hearing the Dhamma (saddhamma savanna); (iii) wise reflection (yoniso manasikaara); and (iv) living in conformity with the Dhamma (dhammaanudhammapatipatti).

We have to be careful though. Metta or loving kindness arises quite often and it is wholesome. When we "love" people, however, there are usually also many moments of attachment, which is unwholesome. Sometimes we may not realize this or we may conflate the two.

Wisdom is a long path, so fine wise friends.

The Hunger Site


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Re: Friendship and love

Post by cooran » Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:25 am

Hello Ary,

The Buddha talks about the drawbacks of love of which is attachment to others here:
Ud 8.8; PTS: Ud 91 Visakha Sutta: To Visakha ... .than.html" onclick=";return false;

He talks of Admirable Friendship with others here:
AN 7.35; PTS: A iv 31 Mitta Sutta: A Friend ... .than.html" onclick=";return false;

Suttas on Sensuality ... sensuality" onclick=";return false;

Buddhism and Sex ... el225.html" onclick=";return false;

with metta
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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