Kaspa writes: Around the time of New Year Satya and I, and a few of our friends, often choose a word each for the year: something we want to see grow within ourselves, or change, as the year progresses.
This year someone asked me if there was a word for the temple for 2015. When they asked I didn’t know what that word might be but during our New Year’s Day service the right word appeared to me.
This is sanskrit word which means spiritual friend. This is the kind of friend you can take refuge in: a friend who acts as a mirror when you need a mirror. who is sympathetic when you need sympathy, who is kind and who acts without ego.
In 2015 I’d like us to develop spiritual friendship towards each other here in the Temple. Not just between the residents, but also to all of those who come through our doors, or come into contact with us in other ways. We should ask ourselves – how can I best lead this person to the Buddha and to liberation?
Sometimes it’s helpful to ask this question consciously, but often as long as we act with the Buddha in our own hearts and minds, we find that we are naturally doing what is best for others. This is an exhortation to keep spiritual friendship in mind, but also to renew our relationship with the Buddha and choose him as our ultimate spiritual friend.
When talking about developing good friends the Buddha said:
“Beings, born, coming to me in search of a good friend, are released from birth. Decaying beings, coming to me in search of a good friend, are released from decay. Beings with the nature of dying, coming to me in search of a good friend, are released from death. Beings, with the nature of grieving, lamenting, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress coming to me in search of a good friend, are released from grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress. Ananda, in this manner it should be known, how a good friendship, a good association and an intimate friendship, is leading a complete holy life.'”
The Buddha is the best possible spiritual friend. If we can reflect even a little of his light to each other, we are doing a good job.