Two nuns, Thubten Chodron and Ayya Tathaaloka, discuss the vital importance of friendship.
Venerable Thubten Chodron (left) and Ayya Tathaaloka (right) speak at Sravasti Abbey in Newport, Washington.
In the popular imagination the Buddhist monastic is solitary. Hours spent studying, chanting, and meditating leave scant time for that most trying yet rewarding of human pursuits: friendship. Or so the notion goes.
In our far-ranging conversation, the nuns Venerable Thubten Chodron and Ayya Tathaaloka roundly dispel this prevailing conception. Restoring spiritual friendship (in Pali, kalyanamittata) to its rightful place as a central feature of both lay and monastic practice, they encourage aspirants to seek out deep relationships as a crucial site of transformation.