Kalyana-Mitta, ‘Noble or Good Friend’, is called a person who is fully established in this Dhamma Path, and who walks the Noble Eightfold Path, and who is the mentor and friend of his friend, or associate, or fellow traveler in this Path, ‘wishing for her/his welfare and concerned with her/his progress.
Ananda, one of many principal disciples of the Buddha, once asked the Buddha if half of the reason for the spiritual life was friendship with others. The Buddha turned to Ananda, rebuking him mildly with the words, “Don’t say that, Ananda. The whole of the spiritual life is THIS.” From this, it shows that the association with a Kalyana Mitta is the WHOLE of the Holy Life. As for you and I, being a ‘Kalyana-mitta’ (noble friend) to others is the one way that we could show our gratitude for what we have gained.
This is especially important as our minds are very deceptive. We are all hard-wired to never be able to get out of this never ending ‘samsara’. So for example if your mind says one thing and for instance a noble friend says another, you’ll have to do weigh very carefully what the noble friend advices you before going forth with what your own mind tells you.
Majjhima Nikaya Suttas 84 Madhurā Sutta - At Madhurā and 94 Gotamukha Sutta -To the Brahmin Gotamukha show how a Kalyana Mitta would act. These two suttas describe how a person approached an arahant who was renowned for the strength and clarity of his teachings. This person requested that he be allowed to take refuge in the arahant, but the arahant replied that refuge could not be taken in him but only in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.
The Noble One (Ariya) in this sutta(s) was an arahant. Still he made it clear that the Buddha-Dhamma must be our guide, and that the Sangha can only assist us to do this for ourselves. Such is the advice of a Kalyana Mitta. In the Buddha’s words, as recorded in the Anguttara Nikaya Sutta 5.88, it is possible that even a world renowned monk, who has a large following of lay and monastic disciples and who is very learned in the scriptures, can have wrong views.
In the Anguttara Nikaya (Sutta 4.180), the Buddha told us that when any bhikku told us that such and such were the teachings of the Buddha, we should, without scorning or welcoming his words, compare the words of the monk with the Suttas and the Vinaya (the texts containing the code of monastic discipline). If they are not in accordance with the Sutta-Vinaya, we should reject them. It is only in this way that we will be able to distinguish between a teacher who teaches the true Dhamma and another who has wrong views.