a collection of
Buddhist Wisdom Verses

6: Mittavaggo
Friends

Jā 533 Cūlahaṁsajātakaṁ
Little Goose

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,
All those with vows of friendliness in this way are fortunate in their affairs,

Haṁsā yathā Dhataraṭṭhā, ñātisaṅgham-upāgamuṁ.
Just like the Dhataraṭṭha geese, who returned to their community of relatives.

Jā 121 Kusanāḷijātakaṁ
The Sacred reed

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,
The one the same, and then the one greater,

Nihīnako vā pi, kareyya mitto, BJT, ChS, Thai: eko; the point would seem to be lost with this reading.01
And the one lower, let him make his friend,

Kareyyuṁ te vyasane uttamatthaṁ,
He should give the utmost help to unfortunates,

Yathā ahaṁ Kusanāḷī rucāyaṁ.
Just as (the god) Kusanāḷi did to this tree.

Jā 157 Guṇajātakaṁ
Virtue

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,
If a weak friend is established in friendliness,

So Text Yo, but the sense requires so. 02 ñātako ca bandhū ca, so mitto so ca me sakhā,
He is my relative and my kin, that friend is a (true) comrade to me,

Dāṭhini mātimaññittho, Thai: mātimaññivho; this looks like a perfect form, but the prohibitive is normally constructed with the aorist. 03 sigālo mama pāṇado!
O sharp-fanged one, despise him not, that jackal saved my life!

Jā 83 Kālakaṇṇijātakaṁ
Black-Ear

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,
He is truly a friend who (goes) seven steps,

Sahāyo pana dvādasakena hoti,
But with twelve he is a companion true,

Māsaddhamāsena ca ñāti hoti,
Through a month or a fortnight he is (like) Comm: ñātisamo. 04 a relative,

Tat-uttariṁ attasamo pi hoti.
More than that he is (considered) the same as my self.

Jā 473 Mittāmittajātakaṁ
Friends and Foes

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,
Having seen you he does not smile, nor does he give you a welcome,

Cakkhūni cassa na dadāti, paṭilomañ-ca vattati.
He does not give you attention, Lit: [He does not give you] his eyes; which is unidiomatic in English. 05 he speaks out against you. Comm: tassa kathaṁ paṭippharati paṭisattu hoti; in his speech he objects, opposes you. 06

106. Amitte tassa bhajati, mitte tassa na sevati,
Your foes he entertains, but with your friends he does not mix,

Vaṇṇakāme nivāreti, akkosante pasaṁsati.
He stops those who like to praise (you), he commends those who abuse (you).

107. Guyhañ-ca tassa nakkhāti, tassa guyhaṁ na gūhati,
His secret he does not tell you, (but) your secret he does not hide,

Kammaṁ tassa na vaṇṇeti, paññassa nappasaṁsati.
He does not praise what you have done, your wisdom he does not commend.

108. Abhave nandati tassa, bhave tassa na nandati,
He takes joy in your loss, he takes no joy in your success,

Accheraṁ bhojanaṁ laddhā tassa nuppajjate sati,
Having received delicious food he does not tell you it exists,

Tato naṁ nānukampati, aho! Thai: ahā; he says [he will gain from having no compassion for you]. 07 so pi labheyy' ito.
Yes! (he believes) he will that gain from not having compassion for you.

109. Iccete soḷasākārā amittasmiṁ patiṭṭhitā,
These are the sixteen conditions that are established in a foe,

Ye hi amittaṁ jāneyya disvā sutvā ca Paṇḍito.
Therefore, having seen and heard (these things), the Wise One can know who his foe is.

110. Pavutthaṁ cassa ChS: tassa; [away from] his [home]. 08 sarati, āgataṁ abhinandati,
When away from home he remembers you, on return he greatly rejoices,

Tato kelāyito Thai: kelāyiko; [Therefore he is] fond. 09 hoti vācāya paṭinandati.
Therefore he has fondness (for you) and welcomes you with (kindly) words.

111. Mitte tasseva bhajati, amitte tassa na sevati,
Your friends he entertains, but with your foes he does not mix,

Akkosante nivāreti, vaṇṇakāme pasaṁsati.
He stops those who abuse (you), he commends those who like to praise.

112. Guyhañ-ca tassa akkhāti, tassa guyhañ-ca gūhati,
His secret he tells to you, your secret he (surely) hides,

Kammañ-ca tassa vaṇṇeti, paññaṁ tassa Thai: paññam-assa; his [wisdom he does commend]? 10 pasaṁsati.
He speaks in praise of what you've done, your wisdom he does commend.

113. Bhave ca nandati tassa, abhave tassa na nandati,
He takes joy in your success, (but) he takes no joy in your loss,

Accheraṁ bhojanaṁ laddhā tassa uppajjate sati.
Having received delicious food he tells you that it exists,

Tato naṁ anukampati, aho! so pi labheyy' ito.
Yes! (he believes) he will gain from having compassion for you.

114. Iccete soḷasākārā mittasmiṁ suppatiṭṭhitā,
These are the sixteen conditions that are well-established in a friend,

Ye hi mittañ-ca jāneyya, disvā sutvā ca Paṇḍito.
Therefore, having seen and heard (these things), the Wise One will know who his friend is.

DN 31 Sigālasuttaṁ
Advice to Sigāla

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,
The friend who steals (from you), that friend who excels in words (but doesn't do),

Anuppiyañ-ca yo āha, Thai: āhu; plural form, which also gives good meaning. 11 apāyesu ca yo sakhā:
He who is said to flatter, that comrade who is a spendthrift: I am taking it that apāyesu sakhā is equivalent to apāyasahāya; the comm. is no help here. 12

116. Ete amitte cattāro, iti viññāya Paṇḍito,
These four are foes, this is known by the Wise One,

Ārakā parivajjeyya, maggaṁ paṭibhayaṁ yathā.
He should avoid them from afar, like a fearful path.

117. Upakāro ca yo mitto, yo ca mitto sukhe dukhe,
That friend who is helpful, the friend in happiness and suffering,

Atthakkhāyī ca yo mitto, yo ca mittānukampako:
That friend who shows what is profitable, the friend who is compassionate:

118. Ete pi mitte cattāro, iti viññāya Paṇḍito,
These four are real friends, such is known by the Wise One,

Sakkaccaṁ payirupāseyya, Mātā puttaṁ va orasaṁ.
He should attend on them carefully, as a Mother a child on the breast.

AN 7.36 Paṭhamamittasuttaṁ
Friends

The True Friend

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

119. Duddadaṁ dadāti mittaṁ, ChS: mitto; masculine, the word occurs with both masc. and neut, forms; BJT: vittaṁ; [He gives what is hard to give] from his wealth; Thai: cittaṁ: [He gives what is hard to give] with his mind? 13 dukkaraṁ vāpi kubbati,
A (true) friend gives what's hard to give, and does what's surely hard to do,

Atho pissa duruttāni, khamati dukkhamāni pi. Text: dukkhayāni pi ? ChS: ca. 14
And when there are bad words, that are hard to bear, he bears them.

120. Guyhañ-ca tassa BJT: cassa; but the 2nd person pronoun makes more sense here. 15 akkhāti, guyhassa parigūhati,
His secret he tells to you, but he hides (your) secret,

Āpadāsu na jahati, khīṇena nātimaññati.
He does not abandon (you) in misfortune, he does not despise (you) when ruined.

121. Yasmiṁ etāni ṭhānāni saṁvijjantīdha puggale:
In whatever person these (seven) things are found here:

So mitto mittakāmehi, bhajitabbo tathāvidho.
He is a (true) friend through his love of friends, one can keep company with such a one.

AN 7.37 Dutiyamittasuttaṁ
Friends

True Friends

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

122. Piyo ca garu bhāvanīyo, vattā ca vacanakkhamo,
Pleasant, respectful, and mature, one who speaks words of forebearance,

Gambhīrañ-ca kathaṁ kattā, no caṭṭhāne niyojaye. ChS: niyojako; I cannot find this form in the Dictionaries; it would mean: he is not one who urges [the impossible]. 16
One who talks about what is deep, who does not urge the impossible.

123. Yasmiṁ etāni ṭhānāni saṁvijjantīdha puggale:
In whatever person these (seven) things are found here:

So mitto mittakāmena, atthakāmānukampako.
He is a (true) friend through his love of friends, compassionately desiring your welfare.

Api nāsiyamānena, bhajitabbo tathāvidho.?
Though he has come to destruction, one can keep company with such a one.

SN 1.1.53 Mittasuttaṁ
Friends

Four True Friends

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

124. Sattho pavasato Thai: pasavato; [A caravan] brings forth [a friend]? Maybe this is a transcription error. 17 mittaṁ, Mātā mittaṁ sake ghare,
A caravan is a friend to one traveling abroad, a Mother is a friend in one's home,

Sahāyo atthajātassa hoti mittaṁ punappunaṁ.
A companion when need has arisen is a (true) friend time and again.

Sayaṁkatāni puññāni taṁ mittaṁ samparāyikaṁ.
Merits that were done by oneself are the (true) friend in the next world.