How should we react when we are provoked?

Lama Ole’s answer:

It is always a sign of strength if you can be good-natured. Small dogs have to bark, but big dogs don’t need to—everyone knows they’re strong. It’s also like that with us. The protector practice helps make us strong, and in critical situations we can then stay good-natured and cool. This is what it’s about.

That’s how you can recognize your own development. How much space do you have? How do you view what people do? Instead of feeling attacked, do you simply think, “Why do they do that? Why do they jump up and down, roll their eyes, and make funny noises. Why on earth would they act like that?”

What I am telling you here carries great responsibility. This is also part of the Bodhisattva Promise. The fastest way to develop is to always act as nobly as possible. Try to behave like a bodhisattva, even when you can’t stop the habits of your speech and you hear yourself saying something you know you shouldn’t say; or when you can’t control your mind and you find yourself in a corner where you don’t want to be; or when you can’t control your body and you do things that you know will drive others up the wall.

But even if you can’t stop yourself, you should at least try to see that it is happening among buddhas. One can smile a bit, make a joke about the scene one is making so that it doesn’t get too serious and heavy, so that it opens up a bit. Try to see the situation from the highest possible level. Simply decide that it is happening among buddhas—that it makes sense, that it’s good the way it’s unfolding.

This is the essence of everything I am talking about here. The disturbing emotions and the stupid habits are strong, but they are also klutzy. We can develop more and more space around the habits to avoid an attack of emotion or to just let it pass by. There are so many possibilities. Start a mantra so that the disturbing emotion slips away as though on a film of oil, or suddenly say “pei!” inwardly and then concentrate on something else. There are so many ways to block these emotional packages and tear them apart.

It is part of Diamond Way practice to see these trips are a dream, as old remnants of habits that one must not take seriously. Ninety percent of all problems are quite stupid. But they are part of people’s growth process. And if one is not there in the moment and is not able to give others what they need, then they don’t develop.

Maybe their problem seems stupid to us if we have meditated a few years longer or done more in the last life, but for them it feels very real. Then we have to address it and do our best. This is hard sometimes if one is in a rush. In business life, we don’t always have to deal with the problem, but in our relationships with others as Buddhists, we do. That applies to all of you—in the centers, those who travel with me, and so on.

OK, if people just want to make problems, then send them away. But if they have a real issue, we have to deal with it and not think of ourselves as better. Instead, see yourself as a midwife and think, “Ah, a beautiful child is coming into the world.”