LETTING GO OF ANGER
“There is no greater evil than anger,
And no greater virtue than patience.”
Anger is a deluded mental factor that observes its contaminated object, exaggerates its bad qualities, considers it to be undesirable, and wishes to harm it.
FAULTS of ANGER
- Anger is the most destructive of all non-virtuous minds.
- If our mind is filled with anger we will not experience peace or happiness.
- It is difficult to fall asleep with an angry mind.
- When anger controls our mind we develop the intention to harm others.
- Anger can so disturb our mind that we may even wish to kill ourself.
WHY WE GET ANGRY
Anger is a response to feelings of unhappiness, which in turn arise whenever we meet with unpleasant circumstances. Whenever we are prevented from fulfilling our wishes, or forced into a situation we dislike – in short, whenever we have to put up with something we would rather avoid – our uncontrolled mind reacts by immediately feeling unhappy.
This uncomfortable feeling can easily turn into anger, and we become even more disturbed than before.
Patience is a mind that is able to accept, fully and happily, whatever occurs. Being patient means to welcome wholeheartedly whatever arises, having given up the idea that things should be other than what they are.
BENEFITS of PATIENCE
- When patience is present in our mind it is impossible for unhappy thoughts to gain a foothold.
- When we learn to accept difficult circumstances patiently, our problems and troubles will eventually disappear.
- Patiently accepting suffering also helps us to gain a clear and dispassionate view of our samsaric situation – of our being born, living, and dying in a state of unknowing and confusion.
HOW TO PRACTICE PATIENCE
Having understood the many faults of anger, we should watch our mind closely at all times. As soon as we notice our mind starting to get agitated – for example when dwelling on someone’s faults and blaming them for the unpleasant feelings in our mind – we should immediately recall the faults of anger. Remembering that getting angry will solve nothing and only create more suffering for both ourself and others, we should make every effort to channel our mind in a more constructive direction.
“Just as there is room in the sky for a thunderstorm, so there is room in the vast space of our mind for a few painful feelings; and just as a storm has no power to destroy the sky, so unpleasant feelings have no power to destroy our mind.”
Ven Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche