How important is befriending in Buddhism
Several years ago at a monastery event held in a large tent erected on the lawn by the wild life pond , the only thing I can recall about it was the address by the Abbot at the time Ajahn succito, ,suggested that when we exited we should turn to the person close by offer our hand and introduce ourselves .
I can’t remember how successful this turned out as us Brits often have to overcome shyness or embarrassment,
In my Zycling precepts number 4 I attempt to address this , and often because we share something with other cyclist this turns out incredibly well
Those who have read some of my adventures on the blog would be familiar with them . And the magic happens on most trips more than once. Now as I’m in my eighties and single it’s not romance that raises it ugly head , but just raw friendliness. I don’t really have an answer for why this happens to me so consistently, except that I’m always open to others in a friendly way .
Sometimes strangers in a vehicle will stop and offer something without even seeing me . It’s not as if they are attracted by my beautiful personality .
Now to return to every day contacts I’ve been wondering what effect the mobile phone is having in people’s lack of interaction . Waiting for the bus I initially greeted the lady waiting who turned away , I could see that maybe she wasn’t British , so when a friend of hers sat next to me ( a confident black lady ) I asked her what she thought . She happened to be a senior nurse in a London hospital.
She explained generally a women on her own would not respond to a man in that casual way, I could understand that, But then she went on to
explain that in the last decade things had changed considerably. She used the example of hospital culture being obsessed with roles and positions.
When I went in for the prostrate op I noticed I felt secondary to the running , when I asked for more water ( that’s what I was staying on for after the operation) she said that she would tell someone, nothing happened until I requested water from a senior male nurse who got it immediately as he realised why I was occupying bed.
I notice that I do creat embarrassment to some of my family and friends when they are out with me and I’m in full flow
So maybe we should be aware of the local culture and not step over into others boundaries. Saying that as I’m tapping away quietly on the bus my ears are being bombarded by voices on their mobiles. They may well be befriending someone but it’s certainly not me.
So what about getting back to the question, outside of the meditation hall and during retreats we tend to keep to ourselves , but several years ago the head honcho Long Por Summedo encouraged us to be convivial during the retreats and not to keep the silence too rigidly. So I’ll leave the last word to him PLG tony