The Buddha extols the beauty and benefit of spiritual friendship.
When Ananda asked the Buddha whether having good friends is perhaps half the path? The Buddha replied: “No, Ananda, having good friends isn’t half of the Holy Life, it’s the whole of the Holy Life.”
There’s a special joy in practicing with good friends. Over time, you appreciate the nobility and uniqueness of each friend, the twists and turns of each life, and the gift each has given you. Spiritual friendship is less about personal connection than it is about helping one another grow in faith and goodness—to realize our true nature. We get to know one another in the silent space of shared meditation and in the intimate sharing of the dharma. In our everyday circumstances we may have little in common, but in our spiritual friendships we find harmony, commonality, and deep mutual appreciation in spite of our differences.
The Buddha said that spiritual friendship requires two elements: truth and tenderness. Spiritual friends are honest with one another. They have courage, they take risks, and they speak from the standpoint of truthfulness, not expediency.
Bom Hyon Sunim is from the Korean Zen tradition and is resident at the Korean Jong Bop Sa Temple in Sydney. Sunim relocated to Sydney in 2017, having lived in Victoria for the previous 8 years, where she was the resident teacher of the Bodhi Ahm Buddhist Centre and founded the Healthcare Chaplaincy program for the Buddhist Council. She is presently a PhD candidate at Western Sydney University and the Senior Buddhist Chaplain for the Australian Defence Forces – also Chairperson of the Australian Sangha Association (ASA).
Sunim conducts teachings and retreats and is active in interfaith, welcoming engagement with all who are spiritually and ecologically motivated to live in right relationship to the planet and all beings.
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Dana is the traditional practice of generosity, the extending of one’s goodwill, which is fundamental to Buddhism and other spiritual traditions. The dana you give helps to maintain the Library and allows it to offer more teachings on the Dhamma so that others may benefit in the future. It is up to each person to determine the amount of dana they’d like to offer. We understand that this is a difficult time financially for many, and people will give what they can. An appropriate dana can’t be prescribed but requires sensitivity to its intent and to the individual’s own situation, as well as awareness of the cost of organising events and supporting teachers who spread the Dhamma.