What Makes a Good Friend?

Thus spoke Shakyamuni Buddha in the Squirrels’ Feeding Ground
Of the Bamboo grove at Rajaghriha
(a translation from the Sigalovata Sutra)

 

These traits make a person a true friend:

If that person is good hearted to you

If that person treats you the same whether either of you is in pain or pleasure

If that person lets you know if something is good and not evil or evil and not good

If that person shares your pain and sorrow

If that person protects you when you are negligent

If that person is a refuge when you are terrified

If that person gives you twice what you need when you are needy

If that person tells you his or her secrets

If that person protects your secrets

If that person does not abandon you when you are in distress

If that person would sacrifice his or her own life for your sake

If that person forbids you to do evil

If that person encourages and protects your virtue

If that person causes you to hear what you do not wish to hear because it is true

If that person shows you the way to the Dharma

If that person never rejoices over your misfortune and always rejoices over your good fortune

If that person prevents others from speaking ill of you

And,

If that person praises those who speak well of you