If someone asked, "What? My father, teacher, ... are not just friends?" -- how would one explain significant differences between "tolerance" and "deep respect and regard", of people being in front and what is called a "person worthy of respect"?

Since it might sometimes occur, in modern or western world, that one gives the gift of appreciation to someone who you count as an equal -- how to make best, or explain now the further step, respect, reverence and even refuge and total devotion?

Does anybody have, can provide, a good answer, strategy, to solve such?

Maybe under the headline, "Neither your father, your teachers and many others, nor the Buddha, are your "homies" or your "colleagues" (co-worker on same stage), proper to call and address by name or with 'friend'".

Practical try, as well possible inspiration to answer this, might be found under the question: "Why should one not address a venerable as friend?", by Upasaka Chris. And why the question is very importand and reasonable, why "homie"-like meetings and ways are destructive for a grow, might be also find inspiring answers later possible here. (this is later addition)

[It's not required to try to answer if the significant different is not really traced yet. Possible better to ask another question. And yes it's another challenging and possible not much broadly beloved question. And yes, feel free to upvote the question as well, if thinking that this gives release.

Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange.]

  • I tried to clarify and to find a short title that summarises the question (I hope that was a good summary).
    – ChrisW
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 19:49
  • Sure, good intention brings good results and being pleased for the actor. Sometimes can be direct proved. Mudita, Nyom @ChrisW . Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 23:43
  • And nobody, not even the most powerful, could match a servant or someone acting correct, he who fullfills his duties and acts even if treaded correct, is the real king and powerful i n the kingdom and worse get lost simply by increasing their debts, gratitude and correct actions in relations never loose, may a receiver even not worthy in many cases. Sadhu. Maybe useful to remark here in support to understand the question. Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 0:39

2 Answers 2


This is not how it works. You don't beg for respect, you don't demand it. When you deserve respect, it happens naturally.

  • Who says that good conduct comes naturally, not to speak that the topic is about giving and not demanding or rights. Of course it is naturally to gain respect under good people if respecting of what is worthy of it. Maybe the answer lacks in understanding that there is no single being not respecting this or that: so the head, of course lies in "right" and conuctive for upward move and beyound. At least, who would be happy to be great respected by those wise would avoid? So being disrespected by those of bad tendency, as long not changing in advanced, is of course really not for a bad. Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 18:30
  • So if the answer was not just a "I have also an opinion" thing, maybe of use to reedit it right from the base and maybe in respect and wirh reverances of the head under which it is done. We are not talking about marked, trade-laws and fast-food selling strategies... or how world work, if we is a matter for Andrei, if not used to trade his opinions better. Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 18:36

Buddhism does not teach blind respect towards authority figures entrusted with responsibilities.

For example, in MN 95, before giving higher respect or veneration to a monk, a lay person is first instructed to ensure the mind of the monk is free from greed, hatred & delusion:

There is the case, Bharadvaja, where a monk lives in dependence on a certain village or town. Then a householder or householder's son goes to him and observes him with regard to three mental qualities — qualities based on greed, qualities based on aversion, qualities based on delusion....When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based on delusion, he places conviction in him....

MN 95

Similarly, Iti 106 certainly says parents are like 'gods' to be venerated by their children; however this is when the parents have compassion & wisdom:

'Brahma,' bhikkhus, is a term for mother and father. 'Early devas' and 'early teachers' and 'those worthy of veneration' are terms for mother and father. For what reason? Because mother and father are very helpful to their children, they take care of them and bring them up and teach them about the world.

Mother and father are called "Brahma," "early teachers" And "worthy of veneration," Being compassionate towards Their family of children.

Iti 106

Thus, when DN 31 explains how relationships are to be conducted between parents & children; teachers & students; and monks & lay people, DN 31 does so referring to the performance of appropriate mutual duties & responsibilities.

In five ways, young householder, a child should minister to his parents as the East: (i) Having supported me I shall support them, (ii) I shall do their duties, (iii) I shall keep the family tradition, (iv) I shall make myself worthy of my inheritance, (v) furthermore I shall offer alms in honor of my departed relatives.

In five ways, young householder, the parents thus ministered to as the East by their children, show their compassion: (i) they restrain them from evil, (ii) they encourage them to do good, (iii) they train them for a profession, (iv) they arrange a suitable marriage, (v) at the proper time they hand over their inheritance to them. "In these five ways do children minister to their parents as the East and the parents show their compassion to their children. Thus is the East covered by them and made safe and secure.

In five ways, young householder, a pupil should minister to a teacher as the South: (i) by rising from the seat in salutation, (ii) by attending on him, (iii) by eagerness to learn, (iv) by personal service, (v) by respectful attention while receiving instructions.

In five ways, young householder, do teachers thus ministered to as the South by their pupils, show their compassion: (i) they train them in the best discipline, (ii) they see that they grasp their lessons well, (iii) they instruct them in the arts and sciences, (iv) they introduce them to their friends and associates, (v) they provide for their safety in every quarter. The teachers thus ministered to as the South by their pupils, show their compassion towards them in these five ways. Thus is the South covered by them and made safe and secure.

In five ways, young householder, should a householder minister to ascetics and brahmans as the Zenith: (i) by lovable deeds, (ii) by lovable words, (iii) by lovable thoughts, (iv) by keeping open house to them, (v) by supplying their material needs.

The ascetics and brahmans thus ministered to as the Zenith by a householder show their compassion towards him in six ways: (i) they restrain him from evil, (ii) they persuade him to do good, (iii) they love him with a kind heart, (iv) they make him hear what he has not heard, (v) they clarify what he has already heard, (vi) they point out the path to a heavenly state. In these six ways do ascetics and brahmans show their compassion towards a householder who ministers to them as the Zenith. Thus is the Zenith covered by him and made safe and secure."

DN 31

In other words, when a monk, teacher or parent is angry, immoral, negligent &/or has wrong view, Buddhism does not encourage us to view them a "true friends", let alone as "Venerables". In the Parable of the Log, the Buddha taught some monks are rotten to the core & will not reach Nibbana.

For those with doubts about what 'true friendship' is, DN 31 explains in detail the 16 characteristics of false friends & the 16 characteristics of true friends. In summary:

The friend who appropriates, the friend who renders lip-service, the friend that flatters, the friend who brings ruin, these four as enemies the wise behold, avoid them from afar as paths of peril.

The friend who is a helpmate, the friend in happiness and woe, the friend who gives good counsel, the friend who sympathises too — these four as friends the wise behold and cherish them devotedly as does a mother her own child.

DN 31

  • Why not address the Tathagata, for example, by name and as "friend"?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 20:22
  • The Tathagata is not the subject of the question. The question appears to be making broad generalisation about all parents & all teachers. However, myy answer sufficiently addresses a Tathagata, i.e., a teacher without greed, hatred & delusion. Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 20:24
  • The answer says there is a case where a householder observes a monk before placing conviction in him. I thought that wasn't quite the subject of the question, which is about relating to people who are worthy (of whom the Tathagata was perhaps the first example), so I was wondering if you might answer that.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 20:31
  • "It's not required to try to answer if the significant different is not really traced yet." and there is aside of Upasaka Chris advice planty of material that contradicts all arguments, whether on the level of teacher, elders, parents... but again, the answer has just troubles to catch the point of the question. Its ok it not able. Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 0:10
  • 2
    The question is basically incomprehensible. I did my best to answer it. Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 0:55

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