Associate not with the wicked and the evil. Seek
the company of noble and virtuous friends.
6 (3) The Story of Venerable Channa (Verse 78)
Na bhaje papake mitte
na bhaje purisadhame
bhajetha mitte kalyane
Don't go around with evil friends,
with rogues do not resort.
Spend your time with noble friends,
with worthy ones consort.
While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the
Buddha spoke this verse, with reference to Venerable Channa.
Channa was the attendant who accompanied Prince
Siddhattha when he renounced the world and left the palace on
horseback. When the prince attained Buddhahood, Channa also
became a monk. As a monk, he was very arrogant and overbearing
because of his close connection with the Buddha. Channa used to
say, "I came along with my master when he left the palace for
the forest. At that time, I was the only companion of my master
and there was no one else. But now, Sariputta and Moggallana are
saying, 'We are the chief disciples,' and are strutting about
When the Buddha sent for him and admonished him
for his behaviour, he kept silent but continued to abuse and
taunt the two chief disciples. Thus the Buddha sent for him and
admonished him three times; still, he did not change. And again,
the Buddha sent for Channa and said, "Channa, these two noble
monks are good friends to you; you should associate with them
and be on good terms with them."
In spite of repeated admonitions and advice
given by the NON, Channa did aj he pleased and continued to
scold and abuse the monks. The Buddha, knowing this, said that
Channa would not change during the Buddha's lifetime but after
his demise (pafinibbana) Channa would surely change. On the eve
of his pafinibbana, the Buddha called Venerable Ananda to his
bedside and instructed him to impose the brahma-punishment (Brahmadanda)
to Channa; i.e., for the monks to simply ignore him and to have
nothing to do with him. After the parinibbana of the Buddha,
Channa learning about the punishment from monks, felt a deep and
bitter remorse for having done wrong and he fainted three times.
Then he owned up his guilt to the monks and asked for pardon.
From that moment, he changed his ways and outlook. He also
obeyed their instructions in his meditation practice and soon
Explanatory Translation (Verse 78)
papake mitte na bhaje. purisadhame na bhaje.
kalayne mitte bhajetha. purisuttame bhajetha
papake mitte: bad friends; na bhaje: do not
associate; purisadhame: wicked evil people; na bhaje: do not
keep company with; kalayne mitte: worthy friends; bhajetha:
associate; purisuttame: noble superior people; bhajetha: keep
Do not associate with people who have evil ways.
Avoid the company of wicked, evil people who are mean and bad.
Associate with worthy friends. Keep the company of noble persons
who are superior in quality and virtue and who will be able to
Mitta: friend. In Buddhist literature the
concept of friend is extensively analysed. In the commentary
seven types of friends are indicated. They are:
(1) pana sakha: those who are
friendly only at drinking bars; (2) sammiya sammiyo:
those who are friendly only when you meet them; (3)
atthesu jatesu: those who are friendly only when
there is some task at hand; (4) upakaraka: those
friends who are really friends in need; (5) samana sukha
dukkha: those who are always with you at all times
whether you are ill or well; (6) atthakkayi: those
good friends who lead you along the path to progress, dissuading
one from evil; (7) anukampaka: they are good
friends who are unhappy when you are in misery but are very
happy when you are all right. He prevents others when they find
fault with you and praises those who praise you. A good friend
is a 'kalyana mitta' (benigh friend). Papa mitta (malign friend)
is one who leads you to evil.
In Sigalovada Sutta (advice to Householder
Sigala) eight (8) types of friends are described. Of these four
(4) are good friends. They are (1) Upakaraka mitta
- a friend who helps you in need; (2) Samana Sukha Dukkha
mitta - a friend -who is ready even to give his life for
you; (3) Atthakkhayi mitta - a friend who protects
you against evil; (4) Anukampaka mitta - a friend
who is happy when you make progress and praises those who speak
well of you. There are four (4) bad friends too. They are (1)
Annadatthuhara - a friend who is keen to profit from
you; (2) Vaciparama - a friend who helps only in
words (3) Anuppiyabhani - a friend who approves
both the good things and the bad things you do (4) Apaya
Sahaya - a friend who leads you to such evil acts as
taking intoxicating drinks.