How should one react when other people behave impossibly?

Lama Ole’s answer:

The first thing is to check whether it’s your issue or not. With us, the big judge is named cause and effect. As a Buddhist, one does not have to interfere in things for the sake of morals or justice. People do negative things if they are stupid, and they themselves will also suffer through what they do.

But if one feels responsible for the situation and has a connection to the person who is making trouble, then it is all right to do something. One can say, “Hey, you idiot, do you see what you’re doing there?” But there should not be any anger in it. If anger is involved, then it always looks stupid. People take it personally and one destroys good connections.

It is good to stop someone who is doing something negative, but if disturbing emotions are there, then it is better to watch out and hold oneself back. In general, it is better to give advice than to tell people pointblank that they shouldn’t do this or that, because if they continue to do it, the connection is damaged and one can’t help anymore.

Over time, you learn to deal with situations like this. You become totally non-moralistic and understand that it is only about the greatest possible human happiness. It is about benefiting beings as well as possible and seeing that everyone is as good as he can be.

You don’t judge but rather try to see if a behavior fits in a given structure. And there you often have to hammer a few bent nails into a piece of wood which itself doesn’t quite fit. That’s just life. You deal with things in a way that brings as little suffering as possible and that—if possible—everyone learns from what happens. Everything is the art of the possible; this means flowing with and being open to all possibilities.

It is like a huge card game, like super bridge. One has half the cards up one’s sleeve the whole time. One sees what the others play, checks it out, and reacts, but the point of the game is that the others win. That is the special game of the lamas: the others should win. And it is best when they think they have figured it out themselves; otherwise, they may easily become proud or angry.