This morning, I taught a theme based on Pete Townsend's song A Friend is a Friend. This evening, I am following that up with how Buddha defined the characteristics of a friend and a non-friend as described in the Sigalovada Sutta (The Code of Discipline for Layman):
"Young man, be aware of these four enemies disguised as friends: the taker, the talker, the flatterer, and the reckless companion.
"The taker can be identified by four things: by only taking, asking for a lot while giving little, performing duty out of fear, and offering service in order to gain something.
"The talker can be identified by four things: by reminding of past generosity, promising future generosity, mouthing empty words of kindness, and protesting personal misfortune when called on to help.
"The flatterer can be identified by four things: by supporting both bad and good behavior indiscriminately, praising you to your face, and putting you down behind your back.
"The reckless companion can be identified by four things: by accompanying you in drinking, roaming around at night, partying, and gambling."
"That is what the Buddha said...
"Young man, be aware of these four good-hearted friends: the helper, the friend who endures in good times and bad, the mentor, and the compassionate friend.
"The helper can be identified by four things: by protecting you when you are vulnerable, and likewise your wealth, being a refuge when you are afraid, and in various tasks providing double what is requested.
"The enduring friend can be identified by four things: by telling you secrets, guarding your own secrets closely, not abandoning you in misfortune, and even dying for you.
"The mentor can be identified by four things: by restraining you from wrongdoing, guiding you towards good actions, telling you what you ought to know, and showing you the path to heaven.
"The compassionate friend can be identified by four things: by not rejoicing in your misfortune, delighting in your good fortune, preventing others from speaking ill of you, and encouraging others who praise your good qualities."
"That is what the Buddha said."
The chorus to the Townsend song is ' be friendly, befriend me now'. My summation? You do not have to make everyone your friend (even on facebook!). But be friendly to people. I used this quote in this morning's class because sometimes 'non-humans' get this friendly concept more easily!
"I have a dream too, but it's about singing and dancing and making people happy. It's the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with. And I found a whole group of friends who have the same dream, and that makes us sort of like a family."
--"The Muppet Movie"