Dhammapada Verse 78
Na bhaje papake mitte
na bhaje purisadhame
bhajetha mitte kalyane
Verse 78: One should not associate with bad friends, nor with the vile. One
should associate with good friends, and with those who are noble.
1. namayanti: to bend, to incline a person's heart or will. In the
case of fletchers, to make the arrows straight; in the case of carpenters, to
make the timber into things that people want, by cutting, sawing and planing.
The Story of Thera Channa
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (78) of
this book, with reference to Thera 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 bhikkhu. As a bhikkhu, he was very arrogant and overbearing
because of his close connection to 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
bhikkhus are good friends to you; you should associate with them and be on good
terms with them."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 78: One should not associate with bad friends,
nor with the vile. One should associate with good friends, and with
those who are noble.
In spite of repeated admonitions and advice given by the Buddha, Channa did
as he pleased and continued to scold and abuse the bhikkhus. The Buddha, knowing
this, said that Channa would not change during the Buddha's lifetime but after
his demise (parinibbana) Channa would surely change. On the eve of his
parinibbana, the Buddha called Thera Ananda to his bedside and instructed
him to impose the Brahma-punishment (Brahmadanda) to Channa; i.e., for
the bhikkhus to simply ignore him and to have nothing to do with him.
After the parinibbana of the Buddha, Channa, learning about the punishment
from Thera Ananda, felt a deep and bitter remorse for having done wrong and he
fainted three times. Then, he owned up his guilt to the bhikkhus and asked for
pardon. From that moment, he changed his ways and outlook. He also obeyed their
instructions in his meditation practice and soon attained arahatship.