Some people are quite proud of their years of practice or their close contact to the Lama, and they look down on beginners. Can you say something about this?

Lama Ole’s answer:

If one wants to help others, then pride is the worst enemy. Proud people think they’re better than others, cutting themselves off from the rest and making them feel uncomfortable.

I insist that you—especially those who work closely with me—make yourselves the servants of the people, as Frederick the Great of old Prussia put it. Loyalty—looking up to others—is perhaps the strongest feeling there is. Of course you should let yourself be inspired from above; but you should also have solidarity and think of others who are weaker. We must learn not only to be loyal but also to see what we can do for others. That is a precious human quality, but it must be learned because it only begins from a certain level of consciousness onwards. I want my students to always think, “I am here for people”—not “I don’t have time right now” or “this one I’ll keep a bit short.”

One should never think a problem is too silly. Of course ninety percent of all problems are rather silly, but they are part of people’s growth. And if we don’t give people what they need, they won’t develop further. Perhaps the problem is silly to those of us who have meditated a few years longer or who did more in the last life, but for them the problems are real. So we must respond to them and really do our best—without thinking at all about “better” or “worse.” We should really be the humblest servant of everyone who comes.

That is difficult of course. We are often in a hurry and short of time. Most aren’t used to acting this way either. In the business world you don’t have to, but in Buddhism you do! That applies to all of you in the centers and to those who travel with me. When people just want to make trouble, you can say, “Talk to him over there” or send them away; but when they have a real problem, we must respond to it and not think that we’re too good for them.