Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How to Transform Anger

Acarya Buddharakkhita (Positive Response)

The approach of positive response calls for self-transformation through a sustained process of self-admonition and self-correction. Unless one has brought about a measure of transformation in one's conduct and beliefs, attitudes and thinking, it is impossible to respond positively, leading to one's own well-being as well as that of others.

But transformation cannot come about without a reorientation of one's motivations. That is where self-admonition and self-correction play a crucial role.

Self-admonition requires a recon-sideration of one's judgments and a reassessment of one's value-system. The Path of Purification (IX, 17-22) contains some very valuable passages concerning reassessment and consi-deration of judgments that instantly cause resentment to subside:

"If by striving and putting forth effort (in the manner mentioned already), one's resentment subsides, well and good. If it does not, one should then consider some of the qualities of the person which express calmness and purity and which inspire confidence when recollected, and after reconsidering in this manner, one should make resentment subside."

Text: Removing Anger
[There are five kinds of people one might meet.] 1. Now for someone, bodily conduct is calm, and this calmness can be seen by the way this person performs various duties. But the person's conduct in speech and thought is not calm. Having ignored the latter, only the calm conduct in bodily actions should be considered.

2. For another, conduct in speech is calm, and this calmness is apparent to all. One is by nature very skillful in welcoming others, friendly, and a good conversationalist; one is congenial, easily approachable, and courteous in speech; one expounds the Teaching in a pleasant way, explaining the Dharma in clear language and in detail. But this person's conduct in bodily actions and in thought is not calm. Having ignored the latter, only the calm conduct in speech should be considered.

3. Another is calm in thoughts, and this calmness is evident to all from the way this person reveres at a shrine, and so on. One who is not calm in thoughts, when saluting at the shrine or at the Bodhi tree, or an elder, does not do it devoutly. And when one sits at the pavilion where the Dharma is preached, this person's mind strays and he or she nods off. Yet another has calm thoughts, gives honor devoutly and deliberately, and hears the Dharma attentively, retaining it in mind and evincing joyful conviction. Thus for someone, conduct in thought is calm but not so conduct in bodily action and speech. Having ignored the latter, only the calm conduct in thought should be considered.

4. For someone, however, not even one of these three actions (conduct, deeds, karma) is calm. For such a person compassion should be aroused thus: "Although now going about in the human world, after a certain time this person will surely end up in any of the eight great hells, or the sixteen minor hells." For through compassion, resentment subsides also.

5. For someone, all of these actions are calm. For such a person, whichever one likes one might consider. Towards such people the cultivation of universal love is easy.

If by an enemy you are pained
With something that belongs to him,
Why try to hurt your mind
Yourself, which does not belong to him?

Crying, you left your family circle
Which had been of such help to you
This great destructive enemy — anger,
Why don't you leave it then?

All the virtues you preserve, but
That which cuts at their very roots,
This anger, you have not yet abandoned.
Who is a greater fool than you?

Done is an ignoble deed
By another — so you get angry.
Aren't you just like him?
Who wants to copy the very same act?

If, wishing to provoke you,
Another acts aggressively,
By allowing anger to spring up,
Why do that which he would have you do?

If you are angry, maybe or maybe not
You make the other person suffer;
But even here and now to yourself
You inflict the pain that anger brings.

Anger-blinded enemies
Indeed tread the path of woe.
Yet you are getting angry too,
Why do you only follow them?

If, because of your anger,
Hurt is done to you by a foe,
Then why not put down that very anger?
Why should you be harassed thereby?

Indeed, states last but for a moment,
Those aggregates by which you did
The odious act have ceased now —
With whom are you angry then?

Who inflicts pain on whom?
Without him, whom will he then inflict?
You yourself are the cause of pain.
Why then are you angry with him?

Minister: Jews to blame for UNESCO loss
CAIRO (AP) – Egypt's culture minister on Wednesday blamed a conspiracy "cooked up in New York" by the world's Jews for keeping him from becoming the next head of the U.N.'s agency for culture and education. Farouk Hosny was defeated on Tuesday by Bulgarian diplomat Irina Bokova in a tight race for the position of UNESCO chair. "It was clear by the end of the competition that there was a conspiracy against me," Hosny told reporters at the airport upon his return from Paris. More>>

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