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22/05/2019

A spiritual comment and prayer to start the day with Nichiren Buddhist Robert Harrap.

A spiritual comment and prayer to start the day with Nichiren Buddhist Robert Harrap.

Good morning.

This time of year seems to be full of anniversaries and birthdays. As well as my own birthday earlier in May, and the anniversary of when I decided that I would practise Buddhism as a life long journey, a number of friends have also celebrated their birthdays. It amazes me how there are some friends who I might not see for long periods, months or even a year or so, and yet when we meet up again, it is as if we have only just seen each other.

I’m fond of the story in the early Buddhist teachings which describes the importance of friendship. Ananda, one of Shakyamuni Buddha’s closest disciples, once asked him: “It seems to me that by having good friends and advancing together with them, one has already halfway attained the Buddha way. Is this way of thinking correct?” Shakyamuni replied, “Ananda, this way of thinking is not correct. Having good friends and advancing together with them is not half the Buddhist way but all the Buddhist way.”

There is an added meaning to the term ‘good friends’ in Buddhism. A good friend is someone who plays a positive function in our lives. That might of course mean that we enjoy their company and want to spend time socialising with them. But on a deeper level, perhaps they are able to say something to us which we don’t at first want to hear, but which enables us to develop and grow as human beings. In Buddhist terms, a bad friend is someone who just encourages us in our weaknesses, whatever they may be. May I have the wisdom and courage to try and be a better ‘good friend’ to the people I engage with in my daily life.

2 minutes

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Wed 22 May 2019 05:43

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