A good advisor is someone with wisdom; an evil advisor is an ignorant person. A good advisor has proper knowledge and views; an evil advisor has deviant knowledge and views. Proper knowledge and views accord with the Buddhadharma; deviant knowledge and views do not. A good advisor cultivates in accord with the Buddhadharma, an evil advisor cultivates in accord with demonic dharma. These are the criteria that differentiate good and evil.
A good advisor teaches and transforms people with the Four Methods of Conversion: giving, kind words, beneficial conduct, and cooperation. With these four methods, you can get along easily with living beings, inspiring their interest and eventually their deep faith in the Buddhadharma.
1. Giving: For people to have a good impression of us and to enable them to believe in the Buddhadharma, we give them both wealth and Dharma.
2. Kind words: We speak kindly, following the principle of not going against human feelings or against the Buddha-dharma.
3. Beneficial conduct: With our body, mouth and mind, we bring the benefits of Dharma to living beings.
4. Cooperation: We work alongside the same living beings we want to liberate.
These four methods are means to get in touch with and develop rapport with living beings. If you can be consistent in your actions and words, be selfless, set an example with your own conduct, and act courageously and righteously, then living beings will naturally believe what you say and will also believe that the Buddhadharma is a precious vessel for crossing the ocean of birth and death.
You people who come here to listen to Sutra lectures and investigate the Buddhadharma are all great learned ones. You should know that the inherent, enlightened nature is fundamentally clear and pure. Within the inherent nature not a single dharma is established, nor is it defiled by any dust. This nature is not produced; it is fundamentally apparent and fundamentally complete. This enlightened nature is the Buddha-nature. Everyone pay close attention to this!
Everyone’s Buddha-nature is the same as that of all Buddhas. There is no difference. But because we are too deluded, shrouded by ignorance and idle thoughts, the Buddha-nature fails to manifest. If we could use wisdom to handle all of our affairs, our Buddha-nature would manifest, and we would be good advisors.