Truly let us praise the joy of companionship!
Better or equal ones should be chosen as friends.
If these are not found, living blamelessly,
one should live alone, like the horn of a rhinoceros.
While emphasizing the element of solitude, the sutta does provide some stanzas such as the above to praise the value of spiritual friendship. This one is in league with the Dhammapada which states that this form of spiritual element is to be highly valued, but that Solitary-Fortitude is the best companion if like-minded Resilient Ones are absent. Perhaps the most prominent example of the value of Spiritual Friendship occurs in the Gandavyūha-sūtra, or the final segment of the larger Avatamsaka, wherein Sudhana encounters innumerable spiritual friends (kalyana-mitras) during his pilgrimage who help him navigate through countless mind-realms towards enlightenment. It’s a sutra to be read and savored in such regard. One needs such friends who will help one navigate through the unsavory sea of samsara until final liberation. However, be mindful that this is no ordinary friendship, but a truly extraordinary spiritual companion that empowers one to rise to the apex of spiritual emancipation.
For example, Dante Alighieri’s mystical friend and navigator was Beatrice—no ordinary sexual friend but more of the “courtly” and spiritual one. Today many celebrate Valentine’s Day. It’s origins, however, does not consist of the namby-pamby form of love in today’s culture, one that even stoops to the depths of sexual degradation. The name Valentine derives from the Latin Valentinus and connotes someone worthy and resilient. Actually there’s an abundance of Valentines on the St. Valentines of the Roman Catholic roster, so many that the Church decided to discontinue any liturgical veneration of him in 1969, though his name continues to reside on its list of officially recognized saints. Today’s popular celebration of St. Valentine owes its origins to the medieval poet Geoffrey Chaucer who wrote in his work Parliament of Foules, ““For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” Hence, today’s popular celebration. (Wiki)
Over the years I have considered many of you, dear readers, as spiritual-friends, fellow companions on the journey homeward to the Unborn. I have cherished your input and continue to wish you the very best in your own spiritual cultivation. Presently, I am dealing with recurring acute health issues and need time away for healing. So until we meet again,