Excerpts from "On Friendship" Matteo Ricci 1595

In times of trouble, the only thing that makes me happy is to see the face of a friend. Since this is so, either when troubled or when rejoicing, is there any time when a friend is not a benefit?  When I am distressed, a friend decreases my distress.  When I am joyous, a friend increases my joy.

Once a friendship is made, do not let your mutual feelings of friendliness break even once - for that feeling, once broken, can be pieced together temporarily but only with great difficulty made whole again. When jade wares have been glued back together they are unsightly, shattered easily, and of little use.

When Mo-wo-pi (a renowned ancient scholar) cut open a large pomegranate, someone asked him: “Master, what things would you like to have as numerously as these seeds?”  To which he responded:  “Faithful friends.”


Matteo Ricci, 1595 "On Friendship" translated by Timothy Billings Columbia University Press 2009

Open Space Issue: 
Is Soft Power - Friendship - the Open Door to China Today?