Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/13/2016

Four Types of People

132. There are four types of people who should be known as enemies disguised as friends: the greedy person, who speaks but does not act, the flatterer and the squanderer. The greedy person is an enemy disguised as a friend for four reasons. He is greedy; he gives little and asks much; if he does what he should, it is only out of fear; and he pursues his own interests only. He who speaks but does not act is an enemy disguised as friend for four reasons. He reminds you of the good done on your behalf in the past; he talks of good he will do on your behalf in the future; he tries to win your favour with empty words; when the opportunity to help arises, he pleads helplessness. The flatterer is an enemy disguised as a friend for four reasons. He encourages you to do wrong; he discourages you from doing right; he praises you to your face and speaks ill of you behind your back. The squanderer is an enemy disguised as a friend for four reasons also. He is your companion when you drink, when you frequent the streets at untimely hours, when you haunt low shows and fairs, and he is your companion when you gamble.

A friend who always wants to take,
A friend who says but doesn’t do,
A friend who use flattering words,
A friend who joins you in the wrong –

These four friends are really foes,
And one who is wise, having understood this,
Will avoid them from afar,
As if they were a dangerous road.

There are four kinds of stout-hearted people who should be known as true friends: the helper, the friend in both good and bad times, one who gives good counsel, and one who sympathizes. The helper is a true friend for four reasons. He guards you when you are off your guard; he guards your property when you are off your guard; he comforts you when you are afraid; and when something has to be done, he gives you twice what you require. The friend in both good times and bad is a true friend for four reasons. He tells you his secrets; he keeps the secrets you tell him; in trouble he does not forsake you; he would even lay down his life for you. The friend who gives good counsel is a true friend for four reasons. He discourages you from doing wrong, he encourages you to do good, he tells you things you have not heard, and he points out the way to heaven. The friend who sympathizes is a true friend for four reasons. He is sad at your misfortunes, he rejoices at your good fortune, he restrains others from speaking ill of you, and he commends those who speak well of you.

A friend who always lends a hand,
A friend in both sorrow and joy,
A friend who offers good counsel,
And a friend who sympathizes too –

These are the four kinds of true friends,
And one who is wise, having understood this,
Will always cherish and serve such friends,
Just as a mother tends her only child.

Digha Nikaya III.186

Shared via Buddha Vacana for Android
http://www.buddhavacana.net

I want so badly to be a good friend. To help. To serve. And yet each day I fail. May we learn to truly care for ourselves through caring for others.


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