The best any teacher can do, even a Buddha, is to help the person get ready to hear the truth. Epstein tells the story of a woman whose child had died. She sought help from the people in her town, but they turned away from her. She found the Buddha, who said, "I have medicine for this. But first bring me some mustard seed from a house where no one has died."
Of course, she could not. But the question led her to her own realization of life’s impermanence and the need to empathize with others. She was transformed.
Epstein observes that the Buddha could have told her the truth up front, but she was not ready to her it. Former SMU law school dean Jeswald W. Salacuse makes this point in "The Wise Advisor: What Every Professional Should Know About Consulting and Counseling."
Salacuse writes that we should not speak too soon . He observes, “Inexperienced advisors, anxious to prove their value to their clients, often start giving advice before they fully know the client or the problem … But talking about the substance before you know the client can lead to bad advice.”
Salacuse writes that a counselor's goal is not to give brilliant advice but rather to make sure the client has actually learned something.
Remember: We are all Buddhas. We just need to realize it.