Friday, April 2, 2010


From 'Letters from Burma' by Aung San Suu Kyi:

"During the hectic days of late May and early June, when a series of critical political events were triggered off by the arrests of the NLD members elected to parliament, a stream of foreign correspondents came to find out how we were coping with the situation. One of them commented on the fact that we did not appear to be unhappy. "U Tin U is smiling broadly and U Kyi Maung is cracking jokes, " he said. "Why are you not in a state of distress? Isn't the situation rather grim?" I suppose some would have seen the situation as grim, but to us, it was just another challenge; and the knowledge that we were facing it together with proven friends was simple reason for good cheer.

A doctor once recommended thinking happy thoughts as a most effective remedy for diverse illnesses. Certainly one of the happiest of thoughts is one's friends; old friends with whom you have shared youthful dreams of an ideal world, new friends with whom you are striving to achieve a realistic version of that ideal. It is comforting to know that friends you have not met for several decades, leading secure lives in countries where their rights are protected by the law, care as much for your welfare now as they did in the days when the Beatles were young and you argued over Dag Hammerskjold's Markings.

...According to the teachings of Buddhism, a good friend is one who gives things hard to give, does what is hard, bears hard words, tells you his secrets, guards your secrets assiduously, does not forsake you in times of want and does not condemn you when you are ruined. With such friends, one can travel the roughest road and not be defeated by hardship. Indeed, the rougher the path, the greater the delight in the company of kalyanamitta, good and noble friends who stand by us in times of adversity."

Page 132, 'A Friend in Need'

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