vishvaasash c' aartha-caryaa ca
marShaNaM praNayash c' aiva
mitra-vRttir iyaM sataaM
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Trust, acting in the other's interest,
Sharing of joy and sorrow,
And tolerance, as well as affection:
Such, between good men, is the conduct of a friend.
What is a friend? Who has been a friend to me?
My most trusted friend, looking back, was not a person but a dog, who went by the name of Kim. So to anybody who wants above all a trusted friend, my advice based on pathetic experience would be to get a dog. I would steer clear of groups led by Japanese Zen masters. That's for damn sure.
When it comes to acting in each other's interests, the truest friend might be a partner. In that sense Gudo Nishijima was a very true friend to me when we were working together on the Nishijima-Cross translation of Shobogenzo into English. And my wife has been a great friend in bringing up our two sons.
For sharing joy and sorrow with friends there might be nothing to rival team sports, like rugby for example.
And with tolerance and affection, everybody can be everybody's friend.
So there are many kinds of friend. But the best friend of all, as epitomized by Ananda, is the friend who lets you know where you are going wrong.
In that spirit, I would say that my best friends in life have been four Alexander teachers, namely Ray Evans, Ron Colyer, Nelly Ben-Or and Marjory Barlow.
After more than 30 years of trying to clarify how to practise sitting-meditation, I still do not know how to sit and I don't expect I ever will. But thanks mainly to the four aforementioned Alexander teachers, I do have some idea how NOT to sit -- in which knowing there might be both joy and sorrow to be shared, but mainly joy.
Among the good the conduct of a friend is marked by confidence, consideration of the other's interest, participation in joy and sorrow, forbearance and affection.
Among decent folk, friendly behaviour consists of tolerance, affection, trust, acting in the other's interest, and the sharing of joys and sorrows.
vi-shvaasaH (nom. sg.): m. confidence , trust , reliance , faith or belief in
shvaasa: m. breathing
artha-caryaa (nom. sg. f.): promoting another's affairs (one of the 7 elements of popularity)
artha: m. aim, purpose; advantage , use , utility
caryaa: f. going about
carya: n. (often ifc.) proceeding , behaviour , conduct
saamaanyam (nom. sg.): n. equality , similarity , identity
sukha-duHkhayoH (gen. dual.): happiness and suffering, joy and sorrow
marShaNam (nom. sg.): n. patience, tolerance
mRSh: to forget , neglect ; to disregard , not heed or mind , mind , bear patiently , put up with (acc.) ; to pardon , forgive , excuse , bear with
praNayaH (nom. sg.): m. guidance , conduct ; affection , confidence in (loc.) , love , attachment , friendship , favour
mitra-vRttiH (nom. sg. f.): the conduct of a friend
mitra: m. friend
vRtti: f. rolling ; mode of life or conduct , course of action , behaviour
iyam (nom. sg. f.): this
sataam (gen. pl.): m. a good or wise man , a sage ; m. good or honest or wise or respectable people