Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Elimination of Anger

Excerpts from Bodhi Leaves (No. B. 68) by Ven. K. Piyatissa Thera

"Not by hating hatred ceases

In this world of tooth and claw;
Love alone from hate releases --
This is the Eternal Law." (Dhp. 5, Francis Story)

"She abused me, she beat me, she defeated me, she robbed me...! Whosoever harbors such thoughts will never be able to still inner enmity" (Dhp. 4).

"Forbearance is the highest observance. Patience is the highest virtue. So the buddhas [perfectly enlightened] say" (Dhp. 184).

"Never, indeed, is hatred stilled by hatred; it will only be stilled by non-hatred -- this is a timeless truth."

"Let one remove anger, root out pride. Let one overcome all fetters of passions. No forms of suffering overtake one who neither clings to mind-and-body (nama-rupa) nor claims anything of the world" (Dhp. 221).

"Guard your mind against an outburst of wrong feelings. Keep your mind controlled. Renouncing unskillful thoughts, develop purity of mind" (Dhp. 233).

If anger has not subsided, one may reflect: "She has done some wrong to me and in so doing has spoiled her mind. Then why should I spoil or impair my own mind because of her foolishness? Sometimes I ignore support or help offered by my relatives, sometimes their tears even shed because of my activities do I ignore. I, being such a person of such type, why should I not ignore that foolish person's deed[s]?"

"She has done that wrong, being subject to [defilements like] anger. Should I, too, follow her, making my own mind subject to anger? Is it not foolish to imitate her? She, harboring her hatred destroys herself internally. Why should I, on her account, destroy my reputation?"


All things are momentary. Both her mind and body are momentary too. The thoughts and the body with which the wrong was done to me are not now existing. What I call the same person now are the thoughts and physical parts which are different from the earlier ones that harmed me, although belonging to the same psycho-physical process. Thus, one thought together with one mass of physical parts did me some wrong and vanished there and then, giving way to succeeding thoughts and material parts to appear. So with which am I getting angry? With the vanished and disappeared thoughts and physical parts or with the thoughts and material parts which do not do any wrong now? Should I get angry with one thing which is innocent when another thing has done me wrong and vanished?

The so-called "I" is not the same for two consecutive moments. At the moment the wrong was done there was another thought and another mass of molecules which were regarded as "I," whereas what are regarded as "I" at the present moment are a different thought and collection of molecules, though belonging to the same process.

Thus some other being did wrong to someone else, and another gets angry with another. Is this not a ridiculous situation? If we scrutinize the exact nature of our life and its happenings in this manner, our anger might subside or vanish there and then.

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