spiritual friends

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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spiritual friends

Post by Gena1480 » Thu May 30, 2013 5:35 am

I have a question about spiritual Friends
does they need to be Buddhist too
or they might practice some other discipline
and can you make a out of someone who practice a different discipline
into a Buddhist if he interested.

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Kim OHara
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Re: spiritual friends

Post by Kim OHara » Thu May 30, 2013 6:52 am

My two closest spiritual friends in real life are both committed Christians - one is even ordained. We find we have more in common with each other than with most people who are not at all interested in religion or morality, and our different chosen paths are less important than that shared commitment to - basically - being 'good people'.
But this is Australia, which is (1) culturally diverse and (2) generally laid back about anything to do with religion or politics. It might not be as easy elsewhere.


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Crazy cloud
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Re: spiritual friends

Post by Crazy cloud » Thu May 30, 2013 6:58 am

If you put all of your mindfulness into making a cup of coaffe and drinking it - you've also put all your spirit into it, and therfore it's becoming spiritualized. So my answer is: yes, you can have whatever friends you want - your a free spirit ... :hello:
If you didn't care
What happened to me
And I didn't care for you

We would zig-zag our way
Through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain

Wondering which of the
Buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing
- Roger Waters

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Re: spiritual friends

Post by cooran » Thu May 30, 2013 7:03 am

Hello all,

A perspective from the Buddha's Teachings:
''Particularly critical to our spiritual progress is our selection of friends and companions, who can have the most decisive impact upon our personal destiny. It is because he perceived how susceptible our minds can be to the influence of our companions that the Buddha repeatedly stressed the value of good friendship (kalyanamittata) in the spiritual life. The Buddha states that he sees no other thing that is so much responsible for the arising of unwholesome qualities in a person as bad friendship, nothing so helpful for the arising of wholesome qualities as good friendship (AN 1.vii,10; I.viii,1). Again, he says that he sees no other external factor that leads to so much harm as bad friendship, and no other external factor that leads to so much benefit as good friendship (AN 1.x,13,14). It is through the influence of a good friend that a disciple is led along the Noble Eightfold Path to release from all suffering (SN 45:2).

Good friendship, in Buddhism, means considerably more than associating with people that one finds amenable and who share one's interests. It means in effect seeking out wise companions to whom one can look for guidance and instruction. The task of the noble friend is not only to provide companionship in the treading of the way. The truly wise and compassionate friend is one who, with understanding and sympathy of heart, is ready to criticize and admonish, to point out one's faults, to exhort and encourage, perceiving that the final end of such friendship is growth in the Dhamma. The Buddha succinctly expresses the proper response of a disciple to such a good friend in a verse of the Dhammapada: "If one finds a person who points out one's faults and who reproves one, one should follow such a wise and sagacious counselor as one would a guide to hidden treasure" (Dhp. 76).

Association with the wise becomes so crucial to spiritual development because the example and advice of a noble-minded counselor is often the decisive factor that awakens and nurtures the unfolding of our own untapped spiritual potential. The uncultivated mind harbors a vast diversity of unrealized possibilities, ranging from the depths of selfishness, egotism and aggressivity to the heights of wisdom, self-sacrifice and compassion. The task confronting us, as followers of the Dhamma, is to keep the unwholesome tendencies in check and to foster the growth of the wholesome tendencies, the qualities that lead to awakening, to freedom and purification. However, our internal tendencies do not mature and decline in a vacuum. They are subject to the constant impact of the broader environment, and among the most powerful of these influences is the company we keep, the people we look upon as teachers, advisors and friends. Such people silently speak to the hidden potentials of our own being, potentials that will either unfold or wither under their influence.''

Whole article is Here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_26.html

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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Re: spiritual friends

Post by Aloka » Thu May 30, 2013 7:28 am

Hi Gena,

There's an article "Spiritual Friendship" by Ajahn Amaro which might be of interest to you.


With kind wishes,


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Re: spiritual friends

Post by John1122 » Thu May 30, 2013 4:11 pm

Thanks for the info Cooran

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Re: spiritual friends

Post by Gena1480 » Fri May 31, 2013 4:27 am

Thank you for all your replies

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Re: spiritual friends

Post by UrbanContemplative » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:26 pm

I HIGHLY encourage this. It is actually perhaps the main reason why I joined this forum; to have meaningful discussion with those who might have a different worldview than I do. I am actually a Christian who is studying to be a Pastor; yet I have a deep love and respect for other faith traditions and cultures. I study comparative religion. I read sacred texts from the major religions of the world. More relevant to this forum, I hold Theravada Buddhism in the highest esteem. I've read all the works of the Pali Canon as translated by Bikkhu Bodhi, among other things...and it has enriched me so much spiritually and in my daily life.

I am reminded of the friendship of Thomas Merton (who is a hero of mine) and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I recommend anyone that is interested in interfaith relations to look up and learn about their relationship. Check out Thomas Merton's classic Asian Journals; written just before he died.

I feel that there should be more of a spirit of openness between different faiths and traditions; that we have much we can learn from each other. Yes. it is true that there will be certain points where you will likely disagree; but unless one is dogmatic and dismissive even that can lead to one's spiritual growth because it will challenge you to think about why you believe what you believe. But having studied comparative religion for over ten years now, I can say that there are many similarities between people of different faiths. We have a lot more common ground than we might think at first glance. Just look at the many parallel sayings between Jesus and the Buddha, as just one example.

If you ask me, there are certain truths that in are in essence, universal. They transcend any one particular faith, belief or culture. We can tap into these things when we cultivate that spirit of openness. But notice I use the word cultivate. It is a discipline, a practice. Our knee jerk reaction is to gratify the ego, the false self....to cling to this view of "I am right and you are wrong."

This is precisely why I would discourage anyone from overtly trying to 'convert'' someone from one faith to another. Christians especially can be guilty of this. I think we provide the best 'witness' to our own traditions when we are affirming of someone else's, but at the same time giving our own insight from our own unique background.

I would recommend that you cultivate spiritual friends from as many traditions as possible. And I would in turn recommend that you take the time to study and learn those traditions yourself. You will grow both spiritually and as a human being!

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