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  • In /The Dhammapada/, Buddha says, “If, as you travel, you meet none better than yourself,

  • or equal, you should steadfastly travel alone.

  • There's no companionship with fools.”

  • So Buddha's saying that the fool doesn't make a good friend, and if you don't have

  • good friends, he says it's better to be alone.

  • And even though that might sound obvious, it's actually difficult to put into practice,

  • because people don't think about what it means to be a good friend.

  • When we know what a good friend is, we know what a bad friend is, and when we know what

  • a bad friend is, we can avoid wasting our time and energy in that relationship.

  • So let's start at the top: what is a good friend?

  • Like Buddha says, I think a good friend offers you companionship.

  • They offer you a relationship where there's mutual learning, and because of that, there's

  • a mutual increase in freedom.

  • The mathematics of friendship work out such that 1 + 1 = 3.

  • Both parties get more within the relationship than they would without it.

  • The relationship allows them to gain greater insight into themselves, each other, and the

  • world.

  • It allows them to learn, expand, and gain a greater freedom from suffering.

  • To me, that's companionship.

  • So if a good friend gives you companionship, a bad friend doesn't.

  • But why doesn't a bad friend give you that?

  • Buddha says that a bad friend is a fool, but what is a fool?

  • Ultimately, I think a fool is someone who's self-absorbed.

  • They're obsessed with their own thoughts.

  • They overvalue what they know and how they see the world, and they undervalue the knowledge

  • of others.

  • They overestimate what they know and underestimate what they don't know.

  • And because The Fool is so self-absorbed, they don't pay much attention to others,

  • and because they don't pay attention to others, they're less capable of learning

  • from them.

  • The Fool is attached to /their own/ point of view, and because of that, they're not

  • going to step into your shoes and look at the world from /your/ point of view.

  • And if you express a point of view that contradicts their own, they're likely to get angry or

  • ignore it, and they're definitely not going to try and understand it.

  • And since The Fool doesn't want to understand you, they won't be able to teach you /or/

  • learn from you.

  • And if they can't teach you or learn from you, there won't be any growth in understanding

  • for you or them.

  • And without mutual growth, there's no companionship.

  • I think that's why Buddha says it's better to go alone than seek companionship from a

  • bad friend.

  • At least if you go alone, you still have the possibility of enriching your own life, discovering

  • a real friend, and you won't waste time, energy, and attention on a fruitless endeavour.

  • So what are the signs, then, that a friendship won't work.

  • If someone doesn't take a natural interest in your worldview, in how you see the world,

  • especially when it contradicts with their own, it's unlikely the friendship will work.

  • If they don't take an interest in understanding you, what can they learn from or teach you?

  • They won't learn from you, because they don't have a genuine interest in exploring

  • your knowledge.

  • But if they don't explore your knowledge, they won't understand your point of view.

  • And if they don't understand your point of view, how will they correct it?

  • So they won't even be able to teach you.

  • The relationship won't really be fruitful for either party.

  • So, as Buddha said, it's better to go alone than seek companionship in a false friend.

  • But it's worth considering how good of a friend we are ourselves.

  • Do we take a natural interest in the worldview of those around us?

  • Do we try to step into their shoes and see the world from their point of view?

  • Do we explore their knowledge and see what they know that we don't?

  • And if we don't, why not?

  • There's someone here in front of us with a unique point of view, experiences, knowledge,

  • feelings, and ideas.

  • And through mutual exploration, we can both expand our own views of the world.

  • But if we're not interested in what others think, if we're not interested in a point

  • of view that challenges our own, then we have to ask ourselves: what are we really interested

  • in?

  • Are we just interested in being validated, flattered, and obeyed?

  • Are we just seeking the feelings of comfort, superiority, and power?

  • It's just something to think about.

  • So if awareness and lack of self-absorption is important for true friendship, what stops

  • us from being aware?

  • I actually talked about this in another video titled /Buddha - Be Aware, Become Free/.

  • I'll put a link to it in the description below, because it picks up where this one

  • left off and builds nicely on top of it.

  • But before you go, remember, this is just my opinion and understanding of Buddha's

  • words, not advice, and please consider liking this video if

  • you

  • liked

  • the video.

In /The Dhammapada/, Buddha says, “If, as you travel, you meet none better than yourself,

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Buddha - Avoid Fools, Make Wise Friends

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    Summer posted on 2021/11/21
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