Even if out of "compassion", what's the effect of association with outcasts, even appear as "family-member" of such?

What's the effect of being related to those who are actually turned over the bowl?

Associate with thieves, slander, people who speak in dispraise of Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, gratitude, generosity, virtue... those who use generosity to offend the giver... with no regard for hospitality, training, teacher, faith...

Do they risk to be avoided likewise by the wise and good?

How are people adviced to act in regard of outcasts? To bear such, or to avoid any association or ways that look like as if?

(Note: this is not given for trade, exchange, stacks and entertaining but as a tiny door to exit this wheel)

3 Answers 3


what's the effect of association with outcasts

I like to distinguish between the person and the behaviour, and to not criticise a person.

It's advice from pre-school teachers -- that if a child ever misbehaves then you can say, "That's bad behaviour", but not, "You're a bad boy or girl".

Criticising people leads to problems -- it perpetuates problems:

  1. "He abused me, he ill-treated me, he got the better of me, he stole my belongings;"... the enmity of those harbouring such thoughts cannot be appeased.
  2. "He abused me, he ill-treated me, he got the better of me, he stole my belongings;"... the enmity of those not harbouring such thoughts can be appeased.
  3. Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased only by loving-kindness. This is an ancient law.

Do they risk to be avoided likewise by the wise and good?

I think that's for the wise and good to decide -- but I imagine they may have limited patience for the stress associated with misbehaviour.

I expect that especially important and true in a formal teaching or a formal work situation, where "disruptive behaviour" -- being loud, disrespectful, even asking questions out of turn, or questions which the rest of the class doesn't find helpful or interesting -- might disrupt (interrupt or break up) a classroom or work-space that's meant to be shared by several.

In that situation you might ask the disruptive behaviour to stop -- and if it doesn't then "expel" the person.

If you're a bit independent-minded, and perhaps even have a low opinion of other people, might think that it's wrong to "take your cue" from other people's behaviour.

However I think that disrupting assemblies of people is kind of wrong -- wrong speech, even taking what's not given.

I think the suttas suggest that the Buddha was almost invariably courteous -- and for example he replied to people's questions when they asked, but didn't go around "preaching" without being invited.


I suppose you are familiar with the stories of 'Angulimala Thero' and the 'Pancha Tanthra story' about 2 parrots.

Summary : In Angulimala thero story Angulimala was a mass murderer before being an 'Arhath sawaka' of Lord Buddha. Being a misleaded good student, Angulimala was killing almost 1000 of people to fulfill his hateful teachers wishes. The king of that kingdom was ready to come with his army and hunt down Angulimala. Lord Buddha saw the potential of Angulimala becoming a good person and being an 'Arhath sawaka' so the Buddha went finding Angulimala to teach him Dhamma and show him the righteous path, and Angulimala realized about his bad behavior and at the end became an Arhath Sawaka.

Associate one self with outcasts or people who punished by the low or marked as bad people by the society is not band or considered as a bad thing by Buddhism. But you have to be careful about how you are associated with them. Being related or being friend with a bad person doesn't necessarily makes you a bad person. Others and their behavior does not affect your Sansara, you and only your self can make your Sansara long. If you are associated with bad people to take them into a better path that's the way it should be.

In other cases like your relations and friends speak in dispraise of Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, gratitude, generosity, etc. as a Buddhist you should not be concerned. If one speak ill about Buddha, Dhamma, Sanga and good deeds that effect only to them not the ones around them. As Buddha teaches what you should do in those situations are instead of get mad or angry about them or what they speak, be compassionate to them if it's possible help them tenderly with kindness to realize where they were wrong, what they did wrong and what's the right path.

As Buddha says 'Chethanahan bhikkawe kamman wadami !'.

(There are so many stories and advises that Buddha given to follow in such situations. If your Pali is good or possible to find a translation read Suttha Pitaka->Khuddakha Nikaya->Suttha Nipatha->Maha Wagga)


From the Sutta Nipata: The famouse Mangala sutta, the highest blessings, starts with:

Asevanā ca bālānaṃ paṇḍitānañca sevanā, Pūjā ca pūjanīyānaṃ etaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ. The Buddha: Not consorting with fools, consorting with the wise, paying homage to those worthy of homage: This is the highest protection.

  1. The vicious are dear to him. He likes not the virtuous; he approves the teachings of the ill-natured — this is the cause of his downfall. from Discourse on Downfall, Sutta Nipata

There is no more clear advice in regard of assosiation, in regard of fools, outcasts and bad friends, since it is the only outer condition of either growth or downfall. "Not to do! When ever traced"

To take such even as advisor or dwell in areas where outcasts even get a lot of reputation, shows just the natural flow of those never met the good teachings, becoming there on and manys "enemies" and increasing suffering for both.

While such as pain, harsh words... is something that one should endurance, fools are to be avoided:

"[5] And what are the fermentations to be abandoned by avoiding? There is the case where a monk, reflecting appropriately, avoids a wild elephant, a wild horse, a wild bull, a wild dog, a snake, a stump, a bramble patch, a chasm, a cliff, a cesspool, an open sewer. Reflecting appropriately, he avoids sitting in the sorts of unsuitable seats, wandering to the sorts of unsuitable habitats, and associating with the sorts of bad friends that would make his knowledgeable friends in the holy life suspect him of evil conduct. The fermentations, vexation, or fever that would arise if he were not to avoid these things do not arise for him when he avoids them. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by avoiding.

So even it there is danger to be suspected!

Since association has (even not recognized) extrem fast impart one oneself, nothing more is urged as outer needed condition as to avoid evil people and wrong view.

Not a single account that the Buddha and wise advice in ways of seeing it easy can be found, but the opposite.

Even in regard of people how are actually no more able to fall down, or in regard of simply dwelling near, the Buddha adviced not to do such, because at least one could be suspect to associate and would therefore be avoided by good people.

Well-known simile is that of a banana leave taking on the smell of fermented fish.

The fermentation of follish compassion with people who can actually only be helped by avoiding, if, cost one not only the reputation of being not firm in faith of the Buddhas advices but also the circumstance to be suspected being another of those outcasts.

Even under recluses:

  1. "Bhikkhus, these three persons are evident in the world. Which three? A certain person should be loathed, should not be associated. The second should be looked after not associated and the third should be associated. Bhikkhus, which person should be loathed and not associated. Here a certain person is unvirtuous, with evil thoughts like rubbish, with secret actions, with only a promise to recluseship, festering inside and filth oozing out. Bhikkhus, this kind of person should be loathed, should not be associated. What is the reason? In some way if this person is not imitated, ill fame spreads, this is an evil friend, an associate of evil. Just as a serpent with excreta on its body would not sting anyone, for he smears excreta. In the same manner an unvirtuous person with evil thoughts similar to rubbish, with secret actions, with only a promise to recluseship, festering inside and filth oozing out should be loathed, should not be associated.

More on friendship and association here: Admirable friend - [Großartiger Freund] kalyanamittata.

Whether one is capable to trace of what is good or bad, aside of being informed, is of course a matter of ones Upanissaya and tendency, and nobody at least could does destinated to bad association help them out, not even the Sublime Buddha.

How ever, for those with Nissaya to a better: How to address wrong view?

In regard whether such people, associating with outcasts, are avoided as well: As in regard of Vinaya and rules of Monks, yes, they have to. Others than not instructed may tell, there are firm rules to seperate those with wrong views and bad conducts out or to be avoided. In areas of fools wise and Dhamma gets censured, yes. Also a strong sign to "run away". So take care with whom you associate and in which spheres you get involved. Smell last long and you might not that independent from support of wise as you may think for now.

(Note: this is not given for trade, exchange, stacks and association with what binds to this wheel but for liberation from it.)

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