If we completely give up anger, won’t we be ignored by others and simply not taken seriously?

Lama Ole’s answer:

If we stop the “either-or” and “me-you” confrontations, if we stop hoping and fearing, this doesn’t mean that we suddenly become friendly vegetables, sitting around, looking at our navels and saying “OM” every hour.

When one has removed the disturbing emotions, then one becomes really effective. Beyond what we think, what we want, what we imagine, beyond this level lies the total joy, power, love—the full energy of our mind. Everything is there, and only when the disturbing emotions are gone can it express itself completely.

We don’t allow anything and everything to be done to us. We don’t become passive or sit around like an ascetic who permits everything without interfering. When the disturbing emotions are gone, then we step in. We become like a “crazy elephant,” as Milarepa said; we do exactly what is needed, without expectations or fear. We react like a sword and cut through wherever necessary.

When you switch from an “either-or” to a smooth “both-and” way of thinking, then you can work with the energies and lead them where you want. So instead of stopping the tiger, you tie a plow to its tail. You direct it, and then it plows the entire piece of land you wanted to sow.

I myself see everything unpleasant as a purification and everything pleasant as a blessing. I see what harms beings, what causes their problems. And with a beyond-personal motivation, I then step in and let things happen the way I want. This happens to all of us as soon as our own expectations and fears are gone. You suddenly have much more strength than before. You’re more effective and certain in what you do. If you are sure that you are doing the right thing, without ego, then you are much stronger and more persistent. But you must not get angry in the process.

In many martial arts, it is said that you must beware the anger of a patient man, because he knows what he is doing. He hasn’t wasted his energy in five minutes of drama. He works in a focused way on what he wants. Always make sure that everything you do emerges from a simple, good conscience; otherwise you lose face. You sit there with egg in your beard and nobody can take you seriously.

The way to change could look like this:

At the beginning, for example, you might go to vote thinking, “Where will I get the biggest amount of money?” or “How can I avoid further speed limits?” On the next level you might think, “What benefits everybody? What brings them more and more freedom and lets them all thrive?” On the third level, you know what you do is right and you simply do what is in front of your nose. There are no more doubts. You are beyond personal; you do what is most useful.

With a Buddhist attitude, one never becomes a “wimp.” However, we already misunderstand this a little bit too. Buddhist countries are usually easy to overrun and destroy. When attacked, they don’t defend themselves well enough. This applies to the countries that were mostly governed by monks. When there were more practical people—laymen and yogis—they could defend themselves better.

If one thinks, “Everybody has Buddha nature; they are fine and we don’t need to protect ourselves,” then the neighbor—who might have only been a little villain—becomes a big villain because he was given the chance, because no one showed him his limits so that he could learn to behave well.

We should be strong and able to protect ourselves!