True friendship is essential to our spiritual journey, yet there are times when we may need to discern who actually is a true friend and who, unfortunately, we may need to cut out of our lives.
There is a beautiful Buddhist text dating back to the 14th century known as the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva. Bodhi can be translated from Sanskrit as “open” or “awake” while sattva can be translated as “being,” so it is an open-hearted being. A meditation master known as Ngulchu Thogme composed these verses so that we could live a full life with open-hearts, in order to be helpful to those around us. Many of these practices revolve around applying virtue to even the toughest of our everyday situations. For example:
When friendship with someone
Causes the three poisons to increase,
Degrades the activities of listening, reflecting, and meditating,
And destroys loving kindness and compassion,
To give up such a friendship
Is the practice of a Bodhisattva.
We’ve all had those friends: the ones who keep us out all night, with whom we think we’re having a great time, but then we wake up the next morning not even remembering what we talked about, feeling drained and yucky. It’s the friend that is never there when you actually need to have a heart-to-heart, but is there in a second when tequila is being served. In other words, it’s the flakey friend who promotes only your most negative tendencie…