The quote is:
“If, in your course, you don’t meet your equal, your better, then continue your course, firmly, alone. There’s no fellowship with fools.” – Dhp 61 [PTS, Translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu]
Does anyone know who whom the dhammapada was given? Was this instruction given to monks, brahmins or lay people? How do you think this quote relates to the monastic Sangha today? Is “teaching” the same as “fellowship”? Is it even possible for this instruction to be adhered to?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this 🙂 and if you are a Buddhist practitioner I’d appreciate it if you could tell me which tradition you follow and for how long you have been a student of the dhamma.
(also, feel free to correct my terrible typos!)
[David] thank you for that. I use accesstoinsight daily and it was from accesstoinsight that I copied and pasted the quote. I think it’s interesting you say you follow Mahayana and, therefore, are not familiar with the dhammapada because it’s also found in the Ägamas. I was really asking for the context in which this specific quote was stated. From the commentaries I found this story of why the Buddha taught this:
A teacher reproached his pupil for some misdemeanour. The displeased pupil set fire to the teacher’s hut and fled. The Buddha, hearing of the incident, commended a solitary career in preference to companionship with the foolish.
(this story is written by NÃ¢rada Thera’s analysis of the commentaries, see http://home.nethere.net/dsparks/narada/ )
I think it’s clear here the word “fool” doesn’t just mean someone who is slightly less than an equal, it means someone who is drastically deluded.
Anyway, thank you [David] for reminding me to post links to my sources.