Home | 365 Days for Travelers

FOUR CATEGORIES OF FRIENDS

Translated by Zhi Qian (Approx. 197 - 266, Three Kingdoms Period)
English translation: You Zai

There exist four grades of friends that must be known: those who are like flowers, those like scales, those like mountains, and those like the earth.

Which friends are like flowers? They wear you on their head when in bloom, throw you away when withered. They adhere to the rich and abandon the poor. These are friends who are like flowers.

Which friends are like scales? Their head lowers when in the face of weight, and raises when the weight disappears. They respect those of weight, and become arrogant when that weight is missing. These are friends who are like scales.

Which friends are like mountains? They are like a mountain of gold upon which birds and animals gather, whose feathers reflect its glory. Their loftiness brings glory, and their wealth offer joy to others. These are friends who are like mountains.

Which friends are like the earth? All crops and treasures rely on them to flourish. They nourish and protect all beings, and thus, their great kindness is tremendous. These are friends who are like the earth.

── from Fo Shuo Bo Jing Chao (Excerpts from the Bo-jataka)