The 4 Types of Foes Disguised Friends revisited – The Buddha in the Sigalovada Sutta

Remember when the Buddha spoke of the 4 Enemies disguised as friends?

As you notice the people around you – which of them has these qualities?  Because if they do, then be on guard – because they might have an ulterior motive for all of a sudden being nice to you or being around you:

  1. The Taker – they associate with you only cos they can get something from you – so they take a lot from you and give little in return.  So beware of these people because you can lose whatever you have to them.
  2. The Talker – their talk has no substance to back them up.  So they can’t be trusted or relied upon – because when you need them, they’ll come up with some excuse such as “I’ve got something else on” to say how they can’t do it.
  3. The Flatterer – this a back stabbing empty talker – they praise you to your face but will backstab you and say nasty things behind your back.
  4. The Bad Influence – you can think of these as friends that you don’t want your kids associating with – if they do drugs and alcohol (because of addiction and how they can affect your physical and mental health), if they gamble (cos friends that encourage you to gamble can make you lose a lot of money in an instant AND lose even more money trying to win it back – but keep losing and losing instead) and stay out late at night a lot (cos it’s dangerous).

Some people are combinations of all of the above – so be careful.

So to make it really simple:

  • Some people may seem really nice on the surface that you let your guard down – but they might have an ulterior motive – they want something from you – so they’ll flatter you with smiles and praises or will just keep taking stuff from you.
  • Some people just can’t be trusted because they are unreliable.  All talk, no substance.
  • Some people are just a bad influence on you and will bring you to ruin.

If you’re not on guard when these people are around you – you will lose major or minor portions of your wealth (and your health) just because they’re hanging around you.


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