Good and Wise Advisor


Good man, in seeking out a good and wise advisor, you should not grow weary. In seeing a good and wise advisor, do not give rise to a sense of satiation or boredom. In inquiring from a good and wise advisor, do not shrink from toil and suffering. In drawing close to a good and wise advisor, do not harbor thoughts of retreat. In making offerings to a good and wise advisor, do not rest. In receiving teachings from a good and wise advisor, do not distort his teachings. In studying a good and wise advisor's principles, do not give rise to doubts. In hearing a good and wise advisor explain the doors to liberation, do not be hesitant. . . . Toward a good and wise advisor, produce a mind of deep faith and veneration, without changing. (EDR VII 142)

"If you want to have some realization, it is essential to meet a bright-eyed good and wise advisor, who can instruct you in methods for increasing your skills. Then you can make progress day by day. . . .

"How are you to know who is a good and wise advisor? A good and wise advisor would never plaster a sign on his forehead saying, 'Do you recognize me? . . . I am a bright-eyed good and wise advisor." If someone did in fact advertise and claim to be a good and wise advisor, he wouldn't be a genuine one. As to a genuine good and wise advisor, if you recognize him, then you recognize him; but if you don't recognize him, he won't put any pressure on you by saying, 'You should draw near to me. . . .' A true good and wise advisor wouldn't act like a patent medicine man selling tonics. He wouldn't praise himself. If you recognize him, that's fine; if you don't recognize him, that's all right, too. He won't introduce himself.

"Since that's the way it is, how are you to know who really is a good and wise advisor. It is not easy to know... As a matter of fact, in the entire world there are very, very few good and wise advisors. . . . A good and wise advisor teaches people to walk on the right road. He does not teach people to take deviant paths. What is meant by the right road? He teaches people not to kill, not to steal, not to engage in sexual misconduct, not to lie, and not to take intoxicants. He would be a bad advisor if he said, 'Wine is no problem. When the Buddha included the prohibition against wine in the Five Precepts, he was talking to people who were as fond of wine as they were of their very lives. He wasn't referring to ordinary people.' To speak that way is teaching deviant knowledge and deviant views. . . .

"The bad advisor also says to you, 'As to your sexual desire, although the Buddha said that desire and lust are not good things, if you can employ sexual desire to an extreme, you can become enlightened too.' That is also an example of deviant knowledge and deviant views. And so when the bad advisor goes on and continues to tell you to do what is improper, he is indicating to you that he is not a good and wise advisor. . . .

"One who is without greed, anger, and stupidity is a good and wise advisor. One who can actually cultivate precepts, samadhi, and wisdom is a good and wise advisor. If you are observing to see if someone is a good and wise advisor, see if he is selfish. If he is, he is not a good and wise advisor. If he is after profit for himself, he is not a good and wise advisor. The person who isn't selfish and has no desire to benefit himself is a good and wise advisor." (LY I 49-51)

Good man, the good and wise advisor is like a kind mother, in that he gives rise to the seed of Buddhahood. He is like a kind father in that he vastly benefits (all beings). He is like a nurse, in that he protects one and stops one from doing evil. He is like a teacher, in that he shows one what a Bodhisattva should learn. He is like a good guide, in that he can open up the path of the paramitas. He is like a skilled physician,in that he can heal the sickness of the afflictions. He is like the snowy mountains, in that he makes grow the medicine of all-wisdom. He is like a valiant general, in that he banishes all terror. He is like a ferryman, in that he enables one to get out of the torrent of birth and death. He is like a boat captain, in that he can take one to the jewelled continent of wisdom. Good man, you should, with proper mindfulness, reflect upon all good and wise advisors in this way. (EDR VII 147)


Pinyin: shan jr shr
Sanskrit: kalyanamitra
Pali: kalyana /kallana-mitta
Alternative: wise counsel, good friend, counsellor, someone with knowledge, wisdom, experience; intimate friends, good mentor, (bright-eyed) knowing one, spiritual guide/advisor, good companion, honest and pure friend.

See Also:
BTTS Ref: LY I 50-2; PS 112-114; EDR II xii-xiv, 2-3, 6-7, 83-84; FAS Ch24 42-43; PB I (intro pp: across frontis--same as EDR, 2nd intro pp.); EDR IV 113; EDR V 69-71; EDR VI 82-83; EDR VII 11, 142ff-155; "He wei shan-jr-shr," Sywan-hwa shang ren kai shr lu, v. 5, pp. 82-83; VBS #198, p. 2
Last Updated: 1/4/2002 10:58:07 PM EST