Buddhist Wisdom Verses

6: Mittavaggo
Friends

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Jā 533 Cūlahaṁsajātakaṁ
Loyalty gets its Reward

A King of the geese is caught by a fowler, but his Commander-in-Chief refuses to leave him. The fowler takes them to the King of Men who, impressed by their virtue, sets them free.

101. Evaṁ mittavataṁ atthā sabbe honti padakkhiṇā,
Haṁsā yathā Dhataraṭṭhā, ñātisaṅgham-upāgamuṁ.

All those with vows of friendliness
Are fortunate in their affairs,
Just like the Dhataraṭṭha geese,
Who returned to their relatives.

Jā 121 Kusanāḷijātakaṁ
Friendship knows no Boundaries

The Bodhisatta was one time born as a lowly god in a sacred reed (Kusanāḷi). Nevertheless he was able to save the home of a god who lived in a tree, who then spoke this verse.

102. Kare sarikkho, atha vā pi seṭṭho,
Nihīnako vā pi, kareyya mitto,
Kareyyuṁ te vyasane uttamatthaṁ,
Yathā ahaṁ Kusanāḷī rucāyaṁ.

The one the same, the one greater,
The one lower, let him make his friend,
He should help the unfortunates,
Just as the reed-god did to this tree.

Jā 157 Guṇajātakaṁ
Gratefulness to Friends

A jackal, who saved a lion when he was in peril of losing his life, is recommended by the lion to his jealous mate.

103. Api ce pi dubbalo mitto mittadhammesu tiṭṭhati,
So ñātako ca bandhū ca, so mitto so ca me sakhā,
Dāṭhini mātimaññittho, sigālo mama pāṇado!

If a weak friend is established in friendliness,
He is my relative, my friend, and my comrade,
Tigress, despise him not, that jackal saved my life!

Jā 83 Kālakaṇṇijātakaṁ
The True Friend

People objected to someone because he was called Black-Ear; however he turned out to be a true friend. Names are not important, they are but sounds.

104. Mitto have sattapadena hoti,
Sahāyo pana dvādasakena hoti,
Māsaddhamāsena ca ñāti hoti,
Tat-uttariṁ attasamo pi hoti.

He is a friend who goes seven steps,
With twelve a companion true,
He is kith and kin at all times,
He is seen the same as my self.

Jā 473 Mittāmittajātakaṁ
The 16 Qualities of Foes and Friends

The Bodhisatta explains to King Brahmadatta the sixteen qualities of a foe, and the sixteen qualities of a friend.

105. Na naṁ umhayate disvā, na ca naṁ paṭinandati,
Cakkhūni cassa na dadāti, paṭilomañ-ca vattati.

Having seen you he does not smile,
Nor does he give you a welcome,
He does not give you attention,
He surely speaks out against you.

106. Amitte tassa bhajati, mitte tassa na sevati,
Vaṇṇakāme nivāreti, akkosante pasaṁsati.

Your enemies he entertains,
But with your friends he does not mix,
He stops those who like to praise you,
He commends those who abuse you.

107. Guyhañ-ca tassa nakkhāti, tassa guyhaṁ na gūhati,
Kammaṁ tassa na vaṇṇeti, paññassa nappasaṁsati.

His secret he does not tell you,
But your secret he does not hide,
He does not praise what you have done,
Your wisdom he does not commend.

108. Abhave nandati tassa, bhave tassa na nandati,
Accheraṁ bhojanaṁ laddhā tassa nuppajjate sati,
Tato naṁ nānukampati, aho! so pi labheyy' ito.

He takes joy in your personal loss,
He takes no joy in your success,
Having received delicious food
He does not tell you where it is,
Yes! he believes that he will gain
Not having compassion for you.

109. Iccete soḷasākārā amittasmiṁ patiṭṭhitā,
Ye hi amittaṁ jāneyya disvā sutvā ca Paṇḍito.

These are the sixteen conditions
That are established in a foe,
Thus, having seen and heard these things,
The Wise can know who their foes are.

110. Pavutthaṁ cassa sarati, āgataṁ abhinandati,
Tato kelāyito hoti vācāya paṭinandati.

When away he remembers you,
On return he greatly rejoices,
Therefore he has fondness for you
And welcomes you with kindly words.

111. Mitte tasseva bhajati, amitte tassa na sevati,
Akkosante nivāreti, vaṇṇakāme pasaṁsati.

Your friends he likes to entertain,
But with your foes he does not mix,
He stops all those who abuse you,
He commends those who like to praise.

112. Guyhañ-ca tassa akkhāti, tassa guyhañ-ca gūhati,
Kammañ-ca tassa vaṇṇeti, paññaṁ tassa pasaṁsati.

His secret he will tell to you,
But your secret he surely hides,
He speaks in praise of what you've done,
And your wisdom he does commend.

113. Bhave ca nandati tassa, abhave tassa na nandati,
Accheraṁ bhojanaṁ laddhā tassa uppajjate sati.
Tato naṁ anukampati, aho! so pi labheyy' ito.

He takes great joy in your success,
But he takes no joy in your loss,
Having received delicious food
He surely tells you where it is,
Yes! he believes he will gain
From having compassion for you.

114. Iccete soḷasākārā mittasmiṁ suppatiṭṭhitā,
Ye hi mittañ-ca jāneyya, disvā sutvā ca Paṇḍito.

These are the sixteen conditions
That are established in a friend,
Thus, having seen and heard these things,
The Wise can know who their friends are.

DN 31 Sigālasuttaṁ
Friends, Bad and Good

The Buddha explains to the young man Sigāla how to distinguish bad friends and good friends.

115. Aññadatthuharo mitto, yo ca mitto vacīparo,
Anuppiyañ-ca yo āha, apāyesu ca yo sakhā:

116. Ete amitte cattāro, iti viññāya Paṇḍito,
Ārakā parivajjeyya, maggaṁ paṭibhayaṁ yathā.

The friend who steals things from you,
That friend who only promises,
That friend who is said to flatter,
And that friend who is a spendthrift:
The Wise will know these four are foes,
Avoid them like a fearful path.

117. Upakāro ca yo mitto, yo ca mitto sukhe dukhe,
Atthakkhāyī ca yo mitto, yo ca mittānukampako:

118. Ete pi mitte cattāro, iti viññāya Paṇḍito,
Sakkaccaṁ payirupāseyya, Mātā puttaṁ va orasaṁ.

That friend who is truly helpful,
The friend for you in weal and woe,
That friend who knows what's for your good,
The friend who is compassionate:
The Wise will know these four are friends,
Attend on them like child on breast.

AN 7.36 Paṭhamamittasuttaṁ
The True Friend

The Buddha explains the seven things by which one can recognise a true friend.

119. Duddadaṁ dadāti mittaṁ, dukkaraṁ vāpi kubbati,
Atho pissa duruttāni, khamati dukkhamāni pi.

A friend gives what's hard to give,
And does what's surely hard to do,
And when there are bad, blaming words,
That are hard to bear, he bears them.

120. Guyhañ-ca tassa akkhāti, guyhassa parigūhati,
Āpadāsu na jahati, khīṇena nātimaññati.

His secret he will tell to you,
But your secret he surely hides,
He supports you in misfortune,
He does not despise you when ruined.

121. Yasmiṁ etāni ṭhānāni saṁvijjantīdha puggale:
So mitto mittakāmehi, bhajitabbo tathāvidho.

In that person these things are found:
He is a true and lovely friend,
With him one can keep company.

AN 7.37 Dutiyamittasuttaṁ
True Friends

Seven more things by which one can know a true friend.

122. Piyo ca garu bhāvanīyo, vattā ca vacanakkhamo,
Gambhīrañ-ca kathaṁ kattā, no caṭṭhāne niyojaye.

Pleasant, respectful, and mature,
One who speaks about forebearance,
One who talks about what is deep,
Who does not urge the impossible.

123. Yasmiṁ etāni ṭhānāni saṁvijjantīdha puggale:
So mitto mittakāmena, atthakāmānukampako.
Api nāsiyamānena, bhajitabbo tathāvidho.

In that person these things are found:
He is a true and lovely friend,
Who really desires your welfare.
Though he has come to destruction,
With him one can keep company.

SN 1.1.53 Mittasuttaṁ
Four True Friends

A god approaches and asks four questions regarding friends and this is the Buddha's reply.

124. Sattho pavasato mittaṁ, Mātā mittaṁ sake ghare,
Sahāyo atthajātassa hoti mittaṁ punappunaṁ.
Sayaṁkatāni puññāni taṁ mittaṁ samparāyikaṁ.

A caravan's a friend abroad,
A Mother is a friend at home,
A companion in times of need
Is a good friend time and again.
Merits that were done by oneself
Are the true friend in the next world.