Dedicated to BOROBUDUR
Lord Mañjuśrī to Sudhana:
If you, noble son, want to accomplish the omniscience, the first concern, the essential course of things is respect, reverence, and attendance to good friends. Therefore, noble son, you should tirelessly seek for the attendance to good friends.
Hard to find, noble son, are beings who have settled their mind on supreme perfect awakening. Even harder to find are those beings who, having settled their mind on the supreme perfect awakening, search all around the bodhisattva conduct. Therefore, noble son, the bodhisattva should attain full confidence in the good friends to attain the knowledge of the omniscient one. One should with tireless mind seek for good friends. He should with eagerness look for good friends. He should with respect follow the instructions of good friends. He should with no hostility practice the skilful means of the good friends.
Almost at every step of Sudhana’s pilgrimage we are reminded of how important devotion and reverence to ‘good friends’ is, including via descriptions of Sudhana’s emotional outbursts of gratitude.
An important list of advice and fifty arguments on how a bodhisattva should think and behave towards ‘good friends’—containing essence of the educational principles of a bodhisattva’s development in early Mahāyāna—are given later on in the sūtra:
1. One should not tire of seeking good friends.
2. One should not be dissatisfied in seeing good friends.
3. One should not become complacent while questioning good friends.
4. One should not reverse from being happy in the company of good friends.
5. One should not cease striving to respectfully attend to good friends.
6. One should not act against the advice or instructions of good friends.
7. One should not be hesitant while obtaining the qualities of good friends.
8. One should not have doubts in the ways of emancipation shown by good friends.
9. One should not malign the acts of good friends in ignorance.
10. One should not give up with body and mind increasing one’s faith in good friends.
1. Listening to all the conducts of bodhisattvas depends on good friends.
2. Perfection of all virtues of bodhisattvas comes from good friends.
3. Streams of all vows of bodhisattvas comes from good friends.
4. All wholesome roots of bodhisattvas are produced by good friends.
5. All provisions of bodhisattvas are provided by good friends.
6. All views of bodhisattvas on the gates of dharmas are issued by good friends.
7. All purifications of the gates to the paths of awakening of bodhisattvas are generated by good friends.
8. All accomplishments of the studies of bodhisattvas are gained from good friends.
9. All dharmas of the virtues of bodhisattvas are set up by good friends.
10. All purifications of the first intents of bodhisattvas are rooted in good friends.
11. All the steadfastness of bodhisattvas is born of good friends.
12. All views on the gates of the oceanic mental command and intelligence of bodhisattvas are guided by good friends.
13. All treasures of the means of purifications of bodhisattvas are sustained by good friends.
14. All views on the knowledge of bodhisattvas are generated by good friends.
15. All distinguished features of the vows of bodhisattvas come from good friends.
16. Concentration on one single object is considered most important by good friends.
17. All faith in the distinguished attainments of bodhisattvas is based on good friends.
18. All foundations of the secrets of bodhisattvas come from the treasury of good friends.
19. All dharmas of bodhisattvas are mined from the mines of good friends.
20. All sprouts of the power of faculties of bodhisattvas are fostered by good friends.
21. All the oceans of the knowledge of bodhisattvas are expounded by good friends.
22. All treasuries of bodhisattvas are guarded by good friends.
23. All accumulations of merits of bodhisattvas are protected by good friends.
24. All purities of the life of bodhisattvas are generated by good friends.
25. All clouds of dharmas of bodhisattvas come from the mouth of good friends.
26. All entries into the path of emancipation of bodhisattvas are kept by good friends.
27. All the awakening of buddhas are attained with the blessing of good friends.
28. All conducts of bodhisattvas are cared for by good friends.
29. All developments of the virtues of bodhisattvas are illumined by good friends.
30. All directions followed by bodhisattvas are shown by good friends.
31. All the greatness of will of bodhisattvas is told by good friends.
32. Power of the great friendliness of bodhisattvas is generated by good friends.
33. Power of the great compassion of bodhisattvas is generated by good friends.
34. All the sovereignty of bodhisattvas is cared for by good friends.
35. All limbs of the awakening are generated by good friends.
36. All charitable skills of bodhisattvas originate from good friends.
37. Sustained by good friends, bodhisattvas do not fall into bad ways.
38. Cared for by good friends, bodhisattvas do not turn away from the Mahāyāna.
39. Minded by good friends, bodhisattvas do not oversteps the precepts of the bodhisattvas.
40. Guarded by good friends, bodhisattvas do not come under the sway of bad friends.
41. Protected by good friends, bodhisattvas do not deviate from the dharmas of bodhisattvas.
42. Cared for by good friends, bodhisattvas go beyond the stage of ordinary persons.
43. Taught by good friends, bodhisattvas do not degenerate to the level of śrāvakas
44. Hidden by good friends, bodhisattvas rise above the world.
45. Educated by good friends, bodhisattvas become undefiled by the worldly dharmas.
46. Attended by good friends, bodhisattvas become heedful and alert in all conduct.
47. Roused by good friends, bodhisattvas do not turn off from their undertakings.
48. Cared for by good friends, bodhisattvas become invulnerable to the defilements of the karmic deeds.
49. Based on the power of good friends, bodhisattvas become indestructible to all evils.
50. In association with good friends, bodhisattvas can develop all limbs of awakening.