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The Company of Wolves

lobsterlobster Veteran

As a companion of the Rhinoceros Sutra I prefer my dharma comrades to be wise if anything. However regular herding is sometimes good for the shear experience.
Do you feel that companionship stops one becoming a lone wolf? Perhaps we need to flock to hear the sheep in wolf clothing? Perhaps we need to howl with the moon ...


  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I don't know. It's easy to say "but being around people and being active in society gives us reason to practice" but if we weren't exposed to all the BS that comes along with that, would we need so much practice on how to deal with it? I think there would be great benefit to giving all that up in terms of being able to only work with your own mind if that was your goal. If we all took up the notion of no companions, the human race wouldn't last very long and it seems that would be a lost opportunity. Who knows what samsara is like on other planets!

    I wouldn't advocate for people to just abandon their families and responsibilities (as seems to be suggested in at least one verse of the sutra) but I also think that we convince ourselves that daily life is good practice because we have no other choice but to look it that way. I don't think that is a bad thing, though. Better that than to look at your daily life as a burden.

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited May 2016

    From the essay:

    'In regard to the self's relation to other people, given the current interest in altruism research in psychology, not to mention the state of the world, any leads which the meditative traditions can provide concerning the transformation of an attitude of passion, aggression, and ignoring into an attitude of compassion are surely not to be neglected. Likewise, the world is certainly in need of spontaneous, surprisingly skillful actions, and research on spontaneous actions (as in 'impossibly' well handled emergencies) is surely to be supported.'

    As 'my' experience and reflection gets more intense.....the more I value the community and what it does/can provide. In relation to the story...As I do the meditative work and discover my problems with the wolves, that I wasn't even aware of yesterday, the more I see the need/value for the Yogi (Sangha). However, only my experience (sitting with the wolves) can address the fears. No one can sit for me. Avoiding the wolves in the first place? Eh...that's assuming that I would be either able to predict the fear and/or the fear is already present. Still a meditative issue....not to mention, survival as a human without worldly interaction (wolves) I think kind of misses the whole point of why the Prince left the Palace in the first place, no? :wink:

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Can one have worldly interaction though without forming strong bonds? It's hard to say where one would draw the line. The HHDL is intimately connected with everyone he interacts with. But that doesn't make him attached in the way most of us are attached to our friends and families. He seems able to immediately feel what someone else feels and connect with them, but he is not attached to that experience or to that person. He obviously interacts greatly with the world, but his level of doing so is very different than what most householders experience. Is it really necessary to be solitary, interacting with no one? Or is it just necessary to not have the level of attachments most of us have to the people in our lives? How possible is it to have a family (for example) and still attain that level of non-attachment but connect with the world as a whole the way masters seem able to do?

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited May 2016

    Also, to keep some context... This Sutra does say:


    If you gain a mature companion,
    a fellow traveler, right-living and wise,
    overcoming all dangers
    go with him, gratified,

    If you don't gain a mature companion,
    a fellow traveler, right-living and wise,
    wander alone
    like a king renouncing his kingdom,
    like the elephant in the Matanga wilds,
    his herd.

    We praise companionship
    -- yes!
    Those on a par, or better,
    should be chosen as friends.
    If they are not to be found,
    living faultlessly,
    wander alone
    like a rhinoceros.


    In other words:
    It's better to be alone than around all knuckleheads. When you find good people...stick with them. Go off and do good for each other and anyone else you can.

    It's good to take a friendventory once in awhile. Even your Sangha/Church group should be evaluated as to what seeds are being planted.

  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    I fly solo as this is the path for me. Nonetheless spiritual friends are all around us. They are not always fellow Buddhists. One day a christian lady who impressed me with her struggle to avoid error said the following to me. "Brother you must practice harder" It was said as just the right time.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @karasti said: > I wouldn't advocate for people to just abandon their families and responsibilities (as seems to be suggested in at least one verse of the sutra)...

    I think this can be interpreted as having the ability to be intellectually and emotionally independent.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I think this can be interpreted as having the ability to be intellectually and emotionally independent.

    Exactly so.
    In one sense we have to become independent and isolated from a gibbering idiot society of monkey minded Trumped individuals. In fact we are part of that circle of ignorance and have to separate the tendencies of our hindered self and nurture our Buddha Nature qualities. We become mindful of our ingrained hurt self and 'other wounding' and choose a kinder Way.

    @grackle said:
    Nonetheless spiritual friends are all around us.

    They are ... as can be experienced from the considered replies and the things we choose to be influenced by and things we choose to wisely ignore. As lay followers we can be 'in the world but not of the world' as the Christian Gnostics say. We can choose kindness and patience, when the fashion is intolerance and selfish indulgence.

    Thanks guys. B) Glad of the inspiration ... We haz plan!

  • Loneliness is a prime motivator to achieve companionship. Affectionate relationships add a pleasurably satisfying and longevity enhancing experience to the slog through the days of our lives. Sometimes real peace is not having to deal with other people's shit too........

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 2016

    I believe there is basis that Buddhism is relevant to friendship and the reverse.āṇa-mittatā

    There is actually this quite famous question of Ananda that I have found even Tibetan Buddhists mention (if memory serves me) despite that in the Pali Canon:

    I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Sakyans. Now there is a Sakyan town named Sakkara. There Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie."[1]

    "Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Thanks @Jeffrey good quote.

    One of the reasons I hang out here is because of the admirable qualities of many whatever their degree of commitment to The Middle Way. The crazy keep me sane, the women show me good sense, the pained show me inspiration and the wise show me the way.

    Many thanks guys <3

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