AVOID COMPANIONSHIP WITH THE FOOLISH
Muhuttam api ce vinnu panditam payirupasati
Khippam dhammarn vijanati jivha suparasam yatha.
An intelligent man, even though he is associated with a wise man only for a moment,
quickly understands the Dhamma, just as the tongue knows the taste of soup.
One day, a group of youths from Paveyyaka enjoyed themselves with a courtesan in a forest and while they were resting, the courtesan ran away with their valuable ornaments. While searching for her in the forest, they met the Buddha. Instead of looking for her further, they diverted their attention and listened attentively to the religious discourse given by the Buddha. After the discourse, they joined the Holy Order and followed the Master to the Jetavana monastery. While staying at the monastery, they strictly observed the austerity or purification practice (dhutanga). Later, when the Buddha delivered the Anamatagga Sutta (Discourse on Countless Existences), all of them attained Arahanthood.
When other bhikkhus commented that these monks were very quick in attaining Arahanthood, the Buddha explained that an intelligent person, even though he is associated with a wise man only for a moment, can easily comprehend the Dhamma, just as the tongue knows the taste of soup.
- Sahayata, According to the commentary this term connotes higher morality, insight, Paths, and Fruits of Sainthood. No such virtues are found in the foolish.
- Out of compassion, to work for their betterment, one may associate with the foolish but not be contaminated by them.