(Ananda was the Buddha’s cousin, and one of his earliest disciples……)
”One day Ananda, who had been thinking deeply about things for a while, turned to the Buddha and exclaimed…
‘Lord, I have been thinking – Spiritual Friendship is at least half of spiritual life!’
The Buddha replied, ‘Say not so, Ananda, say not so. Spiritual Friendship is the whole of spiritual life!’
Samyutta Nikaya, Verse 2.