Do Not be Angry

Anger can completely hijack our reason and lead us to do and say unhelpful and harmful things that we later regret. Anger is painful, as much for the one who is angry as for those whom the anger is turned on.

The ninth precept, do not be angry, is not saying that we should deny or suppress anger. Working with the precepts should shed light on our behaviour, not result in suppression. This precept is stated as do not be angry, not do not indulge anger nor do not act from anger. But how do we not be angry?

To not be, or become, angry we need to penetrate to the root of anger. For almost all of us this will take much time and practice. Regular daily meditation will help greatly, as will reading and reflecting on the Buddha’s teachings. But anger itself is probably the most effective teacher. When we feel ourself becoming angry, as far as we can we should try to observe the anger. If possible, take yourself off to a quiet place and sit with your anger. Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh describes it as taking very good care of your anger. The most important point is not to judge yourself for being angry. Allow the anger to be there. Tune in to the physical sensations of anger and the stream of thoughts.

When you look at your thoughts, rather than being simply swept away with them, what is it that you are telling yourself about you? Keep unpeeling the layers. Underneath everything is the erroneous thought that there is a fixed separate self that has to be maintained and defended. It will take a lot of patience, but each of us has to come to see this for ourself, see it deeply and thoroughly – no self, no anger.

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  1. Pingback: Anger – Our Greatest Teacher | Jade Mountain Buddha Hall

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