Tuesday, January 3, 2017

“Friendship is not half of the holy life, but all of it” the Buddha

No bird is an island

The quote above was the teaser in my daily email from Tricycle Magazine this morning. Wow. The idea sounded fantastic to me and sent my brain on a tangent about relationships and what it means to be a good friend.

When I finally got around to reading the article, I found that the quote did not mean quite what I thought it did. "...the Buddha’s statement refers to him, the Enlightened One, as the true spiritual friend because he guides us on the path to liberation." But the article went on to detail a spiritual friendship between two women monks, and deepened my thoughts about friendship and community (whatever community means to you--seems like the term gets tossed around a lot these days.)

"Community life does not just entail living with other people, but being a community. Living in the same place is very different from being a community. When you are in a community, your awareness goes out to the other people you live with—you see who needs encouragement, who needs guidance, and who needs a laugh."

There's been a lot in the news lately about loneliness and aging. Loneliness Can be Deadly for Elders;Friends are the Antidote is the title of an article by Paula Span published on the eve of the new year. There were similar pieces in the NYTimes in AprilSeptember, and December. The message in all of this writing kind of  validates my misinterpretation of the Buddha's quote, or at least gives weight to what I thought I read over my coffee.

I've had the good fortune to spend time with friends quite a bit this holiday season. I've enjoyed every minute. Thank you.


Elizabeth said...

Community does seem like another over-used word, but I like what you're getting at here. I feel so enriched by the various communities that I'm a part of -- these are both literal and virtual. I insist that both are as important and essential to my well-being. I miss YOUR community, though. When will I see you again?

Bohemian said...

I can see where Buddha is emphasizing Relationship being important in the Spiritual Journey and I am in total agreement with that teaching. That said, Community in Modern times seems to be decaying rapidly... people call where they live Communities but in many cases there is a disconnect between all of the residents and not much investment in each other's lives, thus, few real Friendships. I Believe those of us that desire a true Community seek it out both literally and virtually, I've been fortunate to have found both in Real Life and in the Land of Blog. Kindred Spirits and those who choose to be Invested in one another are Priceless on Life's Journey and even if the inner circle is a small one, it's better than not having one at all... loneliness is indeed the Greatest Poverty. Happy New Year from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian