Question: I wonder if you would be able to talk a little bit about how we could view everyone as our friend. Some people might think that is kind of naïve, and that others would take advantage of us if we really loved everyone. Can you please talk about how it would be to view everyone as your friend?
Answer: When you have bodhichitta in your heart, then everyone is your friend. Everyone is special. We should see everyone as our best friend. What is bodhichitta about? Bodhichitta is the union of loving-kindness, compassion, and profound wisdom. When these three are joined together, that is bodhichitta. When we have the view and attitude of bodhichitta, we see everyone as a friend.
This does not mean we’re going to let anyone exploit us, or use our energy to do something that is hurtful to others. Bodhichitta moves with clear intelligence and knows the nature of samsara. We pay attention to our perceptions so that we’re guided by wisdom. There may be some people who try to take advantage of this kindness, but seeing others as dear friends is a very special practice that will support the growth of bodhichitta.
Nagarjuna wrote this letter directly to his friend, but his advice applies to everyone. It explains how to be strong and conduct ourselves with courage and confidence in the world. It offers clear instruction on how to cultivate human kindness and the precious qualities of morality, concentration, and an open heart. We can work through difficult experiences and learn to meet all the challenges in samsara without a lot of hardship and struggle. Instead of collapsing and giving up, we continue moving forward with good energy.”
Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche
Advice from a Spiritual Friend: A Commentary on Nagarjuna’s Letter to a Friend (pg 40)
Copyright © Padmasambhava Buddhist Center at Padma Samye Ling. All rights reserved.