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Good friends, what are meditation and wisdom like? They’re like a lamp and its light. When there’s a lamp, there’s light. When there’s no lamp, there’s no light. The lamp is the light’s body, and light is the lamp’s function. They have two names but not two bodies. This teaching concerning meditation and wisdom is also like this”

Platform Sutra, Red Pine Translation

 

Good friends. This was not originally a Chinese phrase but a Chinese translation of the Sanskrit kalyana-mitra, which literally means “companions of virtue.” This refers to someone who cultivates and who encourages others to cultivate virtue. As with any spiritual path, relying exclusively on one’s own dedication and energy is seldom sufficient—thus the need for spiritual friends, friends who keep us going when our spirits flag and who point out the way back when we have gone astray.

Red Pine, Platform Sutra commentary, Page 91