Dhammapada

Panditavagga

78

Na bhaje pāpake mitte, na bhaje purisādhame; Bhajetha mitte kalyāṇe, bhajetha purisuttame.
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Do not associate with evil companions; do not seek the fellowship of the vile. Associate with the good friends; seek the fellowship of noble men.
Пусть никто не соединяется с плохими друзьями, пусть никто не соединяется с низкими людьми. Привяжитесь к хорошим друзьям, привяжитесь к благородным людям.

Grammar

This verse consists of four sentences. 1) na bhaje pāpake mitte (one should not associate with evil friends). The subject is omitted, because from the verb form it is clear that a third person singular pronoun is implied. The verb is bhaje (one should associate, 3rd person, singular, active, optative), which is negated by the negative particle na (not). The object is the noun mitte (friends, accusative plural) with its attribute, the adjective pāpake (evil, accusative plural). 2) na bhaje purisādhame (one should not associate with vile people). As above, the subject is the omitted personal pronoun for the third person singular. The verb is again bhaje (see above) negated by the negative particle na (not). The object is the compound purisādhame (vile people, accusative plural). 3) bhajetha mitte kalyāṇe (associate with virtuous friends). This time, the omitted subject is the second person plural pronoun, as implied from the verb form. The verb is bhajetha (you should associate, 2nd person, plural, active, optative). The object is the noun mitte (friends, accusative plural) with its attribute, the adjective kalyāṇe (virtuous, accusative plural). 4) bhajetha purisuttame (associate with noble people). As in the previous sentence, the subject should be the second person plural pronoun. The verb is bhajetha (as above). The object is the compound purisuttame (noble people, accusative plural).

Commentary

Channa was Prince Siddhattha's servant before he renounced the world. When he left the palace and went to homelessness, Channa accompanied him part of the way. After he became the Buddha, Channa also left the worldly life and became a monk. But on account of his close connection with the Buddha, he was very proud and arrogant. He used to scold Sāriputta and Moggallāna, envying them their positions as two Buddha's chief disciples. The Buddha admonished him several times, but Channa still continued to abuse as before. This went on for a long time. Just before the Buddha passed away, he told Ānanda that after his death, a special punishment should be imposed on Channa - nobody was to talk to him, nobody was to associate with him. When Channa learned about this, he felt a deep remorse for his behavior. He admitted his mistake and apologized. After that he changed his ways, practiced diligently and soon he became an Arahant.