The Importance of a Spiritual Friend

In these lovely words of wisdom, Thanissaro Bhikkhu talks about the importance of a spiritual friend. He is one of my favorite Buddhist teachers, authors and scholars from the west. He is also the abbot of Metta Forest Monastery, outside of San Diego. Whenever he has an article in Tricycle, Shambhala Sun, or Buddhadharma, I look forward to reading it.

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh also recognizes the importance of a spiritual friend. When I was in aspirant training for the Order of Interbeing with dharma teacher Lyn Fine, we were asked to connect with someone else in the group to be our buddy. We were to contact each other during the week between meetings.


A Trustworthy Friend | April 4, 2015

If you really want to become skillful in your thoughts, words, and deeds, you need a trustworthy friend to point out your blind spots. And because those spots are blindest around your unskillful habits, the primary duty of a trustworthy friend is to point out your faults—for only when you see your faults can you correct them; only when you correct them are you benefiting from your friend’s compassion in pointing them out.

Regard him as one who
points out
treasure,
the wise one who
seeing your faults
rebukes you.

Stay with this sort of sage.

For the one who stays
with a sage of this sort,
things get better,
not worse.
Dhammapada 76
– Thanissaro Bhikkhu, “The Power of Judgment”

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

When I founded the Mindfulness in Healing sangha (community of practitioners) in 2009, I recognized the importance of a spiritual friend and invited Carolyn DeFay to be my co-leader. Our partnership has work well together for the past six years. Next month, we will celebrate our sixth anniversary together.

My advice to you is to carefully select a trustworthy friend who you can share your practice with and grow in awareness together. Don’t you think this is a wonderful idea?

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