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Venerable Priya at Northeastern Buddhist Mindfulness Group (NUBG)

A Talk on the Kalyana Mitta Sutta


Monks, a friend endowed with seven qualities is worth associating with. Which

seven? He gives what is hard to give. He does what is hard to do. He endures

what is hard to endure. He reveals his secrets to you. He keeps your secrets.

When misfortunes strike, he doesn't abandon you. When you're down & out, he

doesn't look down on you. A friend endowed with these seven qualities is worth

associating with."

He gives what is beautiful,

hard to give,

does what is hard to do,

endures painful, ill-spoken words.

His secrets he tells you,

your secrets he keeps.

When misfortunes strike,

he doesn't abandon you;

when you're down & out,

doesn't look down on you.

A person in whom these traits are found,

is a friend to be cultivated

by anyone wanting a friend.

--Mitta Sutta

This short sutra is so valuable in describing the qualities of a wise friend. They say what is hard to say, do what is hard to do. They don't give away your secrets, don't abandon you, and don't judge you. These are qualities we can also practice with ourselves. We can practice being a wise friend to ourselves by being honest with ourselves, while not judging and not giving up on ourselves, If we can be unconditionally present, not giving up on ourselves, we will then be in a place to offer unconditional love to others. So, in this week of Valentines, Venerable Priya and NUBG invite us to surpass the romantic view of love to step into a lovingkindness that is more genuine, less dependent upon projection (or cathexis)-- that is infused with joy, compassion and equanimity-- and which nourishes both the giver and the receiver.

he Venerable Priya Sraman was appointed the Buddhist Chaplain of Emory on January 20, 2021. Reporting to the Dean of Religious Life,he works as part of Emory's multifaith chaplaincy team to support the various spiritual and religious interests of the growing and diverse Buddhist and mindfulness communities on campus. His responsibilities include supporting weekly spiritual gatherings, providing educational opportunities, offering pastoral care, and promoting service, social justice, and interfaith engagement in the Emory campus community and with partners beyond.

Before coming to Emory, Venerable Priya served for four years as the Buddhist Chaplain at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. In his role as the Buddhist Chaplain, Venerable Priya provided spiritual care and counseling to communities of students and faculty and staff. Through regular bi-weekly sessions, he offered and led Dharma practice gatherings and facilitated group discussions. He organized monthly guest lectures in collaboration with local Buddhist monastics and teachers, and he supported the Tufts Buddhist Mindfulness Sangha, Tufts' student-led Buddhist community, in organizing and leading semesterly off-campus weekend retreats. He has attended several interfaith programs and panels as an organizer, a facilitator, and/or a speaker within Tufts University Chaplaincy and in the greater Boston area.

Venerable Priya is an ordained monk (Pali: bhikkhu, Sanskrit: bhikṣu) in the Theravada School of Buddhism. He has lived, studied, and practiced Buddhism for various lengths of time in different Buddhist communities in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Hong Kong, Myanmar, and China.

He received a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School focused on Buddhist Ministry, a Master of Buddhist Studies degreefrom the University of Hong Kong, and a Bachelor of Arts in Buddhist Studies from Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in Thailand. Venerable Priya is originally from Chattogram, Bangladesh, and currently lives in Atlanta. He enjoys reading, photographing nature and ancient historical structures, and travelling. He likes cooking and learning about different foods.

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