In Episode 1, we start at the beginning, with the phenomenon that gave rise to the shared project that is Skillful Means Podcast: spiritual friendship.
In Buddhism, spiritual friends (Pali: Kalyāṇa-mitta, Sanskrit: -mitra) provide support and encouragement along the path. They may be monastic, lay peers, or teacher/student pairs. These relationships are fertile ground for better understanding the nature of the mind while also being protective in a world where contemplative practice is counter-cultural.
We use stories from the Buddhist Canon as well examples from our own lives to illustrate the purpose of spiritual friendship (supportive of practice), how it operates (encouraging the wholesome), and what a spiritual friendship is not (concerned with fixing). We also talk about whether and how it shows up in parts of the yoga world.
Our hope is to inspire you to identify and foreground spiritual friends or potential spiritual friends in your life. We end with resources that will help in this endeavor.
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Sources and Further Reading:
Resources for developing spiritual friendship and sangha: