Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa

Introduction to 3.1.8
(The Importance of a Kalyāṇamitta)

In this present sutta the Venerable Ānanda talks with the Buddha about the importance of a kalyāṇamitta. The Buddha emphasises the importance of such a good friend and enlightens him that having virtuous friends is not only half of, but rather the whole of the holy life, and this is because:–Kalyāṇamittassetaṃ, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno pāṭikaṅkhaṃ ariyaṃ aṭṭhaṅgikaṃ maggaṃ bhāvessati, ariyaṃ aṭṭhaṅgikaṃ maggaṃ bahulīkarissati.– When a Bhikkhu has virtuous people as friends it can be expected that he will pursue the Noble Eightfold Path and that he will develop the Eightfold Noble Path?

A kalyāṇamitta is a good friend, a virtuous friend whose advise is beneficial, a kalyāṇamitta is a guide on the path who encourages, supports and leads. A kalyāṇamitta is the embodiment of faith, of moral perfection, of renunciation and of wisdom. At various places the Buddha compares the importance of having a kalyāṇamitta with the dawn, which is the forerunner and precursor of the sun; in the same very way a kalyāṇamitta is the forerunner and precursor of the Eightfold Noble Path:Sūriyassa, bhikkhave, udayato[1] etaṃ pubbaṅgamaṃ etaṃ pubbanimittaṃ[2], yadidaṃ – aruṇuggaṃ[3]; evameva kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno ariyassa aṭṭhaṅgikassa maggassa uppādāya etaṃ pubbaṅgamaṃ etaṃ pubbanimittaṃ, yadidaṃ kalyāṇamittatā.

It is also the one thing that is greatly supportive for the arising of the Eightfold Noble Path:–Ekadhammo, bhikkhave, bahūpakāro[4] ariyassa aṭṭhaṅgikassa maggassa uppādāya. Katamo ekadhammo? Yadidaṃ kalyāṇamittatā.

And a kalyāṇamitta is further the one thing with no other perceivable by which the unarisen Noble Eightfold Path arises and once arisen develops and reaches fulfilment:–Nāhaṃ, bhikkhave, aññaṃ ekadhammampi samanupassāmi, yena anuppanno vā ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo uppajjati, uppanno vā ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo bhāvanāpāripūriṃ gacchati, yathayidaṃ, bhikkhave, kalyāṇamittatā.

After the Venerable Thera Phussa (see 2.1.11 and 3.1.2) had portended the foreboding of the last time, he proved a true kalyāṇamitta when he encouraged and stirred his listeners to make best use of the remaining period with the following verses:

Evaṃ anāgataddhānaṃ, paṭipatti bhavissati;

Bhikkhūnaṃ bhikkhunīnañca, patte kālamhi pacchime.

Purā āgacchate etaṃ, anāgataṃ mahabbhayaṃ;

Subbacā hotha sakhilā, aññamaññaṃ sagāravā.

Mettacittā kāruṇikā, hotha sīlesu saṃvutā[5];

Āraddhavīriyā pahitattā[6], niccaṃ daḷhaparakkamā[7].

Pamādaṃ bhayato disvā, appamādañca khemato;

Bhāvethaṭṭhaṅgikaṃ maggaṃ, phusantā[8] amataṃ padanti

In this way in future times the conduct of the Bhikkhus

and Bhikkhunis will develop, when the last time is reached.

Before this very fearful future time will arrive,

Behave yourselves with pleasant speech, congenial and full of respect for each other.

Dwell suffusing your minds with metta, compassionate, your sīla well protected,

Put forth energy, resolute, always maintain strong effort.

The following eight units depict the respective constituents of the Eightfold Noble Path in more detail. May the readers establish themselves fully in each and every component by following the alarming advise of Venerable Phussathera, this true kalyāṇamitta!

[1] udayato: rise

[2] pubbanimittaṃ: pubba + nimittaṃ: before + sign

[3] aruṇuggaṃ: aruṇa + uggaṃ: dawn; the sun + rise: sunrise

[4] bahūpakāro: bahu +upakāro: many, much + advantage, benefit, use, help

[5] saṃvutā: saṃvarati (pp): restrained, controlled, guarded

[6] pahitattā: padahati (pp): of resolute will, energetic

[7] daḷhaparakkamā: daḷha + parakkamā: strong, firm + exertion, effort, energy

[8] phusanā: attaining


Pāli lesson (with audio) 3.1.8

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Last modified: Monday, 18 May 2020, 1:32 AM