One day, Ananda, the Buddha’s attendant, comes back from a day of meditating. I imagine he’s been out in the forest with one of the senior monks, perhaps Sariputta or Mogallana, and they’ve had some inspiring conversations.
Back at the monastery, Ananda greets the Buddha and says, “This is half the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie.”
The Buddha reproves Ananda. “Don’t say that Ananda. Don’t say that. Noble friends and noble conversations are all of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, she can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.”
This clear teaching points me toward developing relationships with my spiritual friends. I feel very grateful to my Dharma friends who keep me on the high road, even when i’m tempted to go low.
But what about my “ignoble” friends? I love people who don’t know anything about the eightfold noble path and aren’t interested in it.
I asked Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia this question. “I love my ignoble friends” She responded, “Then be a noble friend to them.”