The buddha is said to have told his student that there are five steps to finding lasting peace in one’s heart. First, one must have true intimacy with at least one good friend. The second is virtuous conduct. Third, one needs the kind of deep connection that inspires and encourages growth and practice. Fourth, diligence, energy, and enthusiasm for the good. And the fifth step is an insight into the impermanence of things.
To the cement the point, the Buddha went through the list again, this time preceding each of the other items with the first: “When there is a lovely intimacy between friends,” he began, “then virtuous conduct will follow,” and so on. In other words, friendship is a most important element in the spiritual path to peace in the heart. Everything else naturally flows from it.