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 ANGER MANAGEMENT & BUDDISM

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MAJOR(R)KHALID NASR
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Number of posts : 17
Age : 67
Location : LAHORE , PAKISTAN
Registration date : 2008-03-02

PostSubject: ANGER MANAGEMENT & BUDDISM   Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:04 pm

ANGER AND AVERSION

"It is natural for the immature to harm others.
Getting angry with them is like resenting a fire for burning."
Shantideva


DEFINITIONS
The definition of Aversion is: Exaggerated wanting to be separated from someone or something. (Exact opposite of Attachment.) Because the label of "unpleasant" is very relative and based upon limited information, aversion includes an aspect of exaggeration or "projection".
The definition of Anger is: Being unable to bear the object, or the intention to cause harm to the object. Anger is defined as aversion with stronger exaggeration.

A BIT OF BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY
The basic problem according to Buddhism, is that emotions like anger and hatred are based on projections and exaggeration, not on objectivity or wisdom, and thus basically incorrect.
There is little need to explain what anger and hatred do to ourselves by means of the laws of karma; the misery we cause others will come back at ourselves. Nobody wants suffering, so next is a summary of methods which can not only reduce but even eliminate anger and hatred from our minds.
It must be emphasise that to completely eliminate these negative emotions from our mind is a lengthy psychological process, requiring study, mindfulness, reflection and honest observation of one's own mind. To begin with, meditation is an ideal method to review a situation in which one became angry (see the page on meditation). This has the advantage that one is not exposed to the actual situation, but one can review it much more objectively. When regular meditation gives some insight into what anger is and what happens to oneself when feeling angry, then one can gradually try to apply it in real-life situations, preferably of course before one is already under complete control of anger. It is a slow process, but the change in your life and the ones around you can profoundly change for the better.





FORGIVING
Please take a moment to take in the following message:

What forgiveness is

"Forgiveness is a form of realism. It doesn't deny, minimize, or justify what others have done to us or the pain that we have suffered. It encourages us to look squarely at those old wounds and see them for what they are. And it allows us to see how much energy we have wasted and how much we have damaged ourselves by not forgiving.
Forgiveness is an internal process. It can't be forced, and it doesn't come easy. It brings with it great feelings of wellness and freedom. But we experience this only when we want to heal and when we are willing to work for it.
Forgiveness is a sign of positive self-esteem. We no longer identify ourselves by our past injuries and injustices. We are no longer victims. We claim the right to stop hurting when we say, "I'm tired of the pain, and I want to be healed." At that moment, forgiveness becomes a possibility-although it may take time and much hard work before we finally achieve it.
Forgiveness is letting go of the past. It doesn't erase what happened, but it does allow us to lessen and perhaps even eliminate the pain of the past. The pain from our past no longer dictates how we live in the present, and it no longer determines our future.
It also means that we no longer need resentment and anger as an excuse for our shortcomings. We don't need them as a weapon to punish others nor as a shield to protect ourselves by keeping others away. And most importantly, we don't need these feelings to identify who we are. We become more than merely victims of our past.
Forgiveness is no longer wanting to punish those who hurt us. It is understanding that the anger and hatred that we feel toward them hurts us far more than it hurts them. It is seeing how we hide ourselves in our anger and how those feelings prevent us from healing. It is discovering the inner peace that becomes ours when we let go of the past and forget vengeance.
Forgiveness is moving on. It is recognizing all that we have lost because of our refusal to forgive. It is realizing that the energy that we spend hanging on to the past is better spent on improving our present and our future. It is letting go of the past so that we can move on.
We all have been hurt. And at one time or another most of us have made the mistake of trying to run away from the past. The problem is that no matter how fast or how far we run, the past always catches up to us-and usually at the most inopportune time. When we forgive, we are dealing with the past in such a way that we no longer have to run.
For me, learning how to forgive wasn't easy. But I did learn, and my life is better for it - even here on death row."

Michael B. Ross
Death Row
Somers, Connecticut

"To be angry is to let others' mistakes punish yourself.
To forgive others is to be good to yourself.
Master Cheng





HOW TO TAKE INSULT
From: TheDailyEnlightenment.com Weekly 21/04/05:

On one occasion, the Buddha was invited by the Brahmin Bharadvaja for alms to his house. As invited, the Buddha visited the house of the Brahmin. Instead of entertaining Him, the Brahmin poured forth a torrent of abuse with the filthiest of words. The Buddha politely inquired:

"Do visitors come to your house, good Brahmin?"
"Yes," he replied.
"What do yu do when they come?"
"Oh, we prepare a sumptuous feast."
"What do you if they refuse to receive the meal?"
"Why, we gladly partake of them ourselves."
"Well, good Brahmin, you have invited me for alms and entertained me with abuse which I decline to accept. So now it belongs to you."
From the Akkosa Sutta

The Buddha did not retaliate but politely gave back what the Brahmin had given Him. Retaliate not, the Buddha advised. "Hatred does not cease through hatred but through love alone they cease."

PATIENCE - THE MAIN ANTIDOTE
Patience is the main antidote to anger. As common wisdom says: just count to 100... During this time, any of the below methods can be effective. The most effective method will depend on the actual situation. Especially in our age of rush and intense change, patience may not be seen as a positive quality, but take a minute to think impatience can easily give rise to a general feeling of anger.

Patience is like a beautiful ornament. When you become a person with great patience, it brings a certain element of charm to your life. You are loved by others, and you give no problems to your friends. You bring an element of joy, happiness, and calmness to other people's lives - your friends, your family, and the community. You do not have to ask to be accepted; everyone longs for your presence. Everyone looks up to you and respects you, not because you have worked for that or expected it, not because you were competing for their favor, but simply because of the nature of patience. You are respected and trusted, and you acquire dignity with the practice of patience. When you are honored, it is with sincerity, and it is something you can live up to.

...Just hearing about patience does not mean you are experiencing it now or will easily develop it. To lay the ground for training the mind, you must first tame the mind. To tame the mind, it is extremely important to do the basic shamata [tranquility meditation, calm abiding] practice, which develops calmness and tranquility. Then you can add the practice of patience, understanding the benefits of patience and reminding yourself to take advantage of the available antidotes.
From Dharma Paths by Ven. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche

HANDLING ANGER - APPLYING ANTIDOTES
Below is a summary of various approaches to anger. They obviously will be most efficient when used with a calm and concentrated mind, either during meditation or at the moment you realize that something needs to be done about your anger. Obviously, the problem during an actual difficult situation is to have a calm and concentrated mind - a regular meditation practice can be of great help then! One of the best ways to really make progress with understanding and changing the functioning of our own mind is to try out analytical meditation, combined with these clues, see also Meditation on Anger.

ANTIDOTE 1 - Patience.
Patience is the main antidote to anger. As common wisdom says: just count to 100... During this time, any of the below methods can be effective. The most effective method will depend on the actual situation. Especially in our age of rush and intense change, patience may not be seen as a positive quality, but take a minute to think impatience can easily give rise to a general feeling of anger.

ANTIDOTE 2 - Realisation of the Noble Truth of Suffering.
Once one understands that problems and frustration is a basic fact of life, it can reduce our impatience with our own unrealistic expectations. In other words: nothing is perfect, so don't expect it.
Because of my belief that things are or can be perfect, it is easy to feel hurt.

ANTIDOTE 3 - Understanding Karma.
As explained in the page on Karma, the real reasons for our problems are our own actions, which are in turn caused by our own negative states of mind. If someone makes us angry, it has a sobering effect if we dare to think that the real reasons for this situation are our own past actions, and the person is just a circumstance for our own karma to ripen.

ANTIDOTE 4 - Changing or Accepting.
Basically, we can find ourselves in two types of unpleasant situations: ones we can change and ones we cannot change.
- If I can change the situation, I should do something about it instead of getting all worked-up and angry. Not acting in such a situation will cause frustration in the end.
- If I cannot change the situation, I will have to accept it. If I don't, it will only lead to frustration and a negative and unpleasant state of mind, which will make the situation only worse.
For some reasons unclear to me, Westerners (including myself) appear to have big problems with accepting unpleasant situations which we cannot change. Could this be a result of impatience (a form of anger) with imperfection (an unrealistic expectation)?
Do consider the wisdom in the following remarks (from an online discussion - forgot the writer.):

"How does this effect my Buddhist practice?
It doesn't.
These reported events are like an arrow shot at my heart but it lands at my feet.
I choose not to bend over, pick it up, and stab myself with it."

ANTIDOTE 5 - Realistic Analysis.
For example: someone accuses me of something.
- If it is true, I apparently made a mistake, so I should listen and learn.
- If it is untrue, the other person makes a mistake. So what? Nobody is perfect. I also make mistakes, and it is all too easy to label the other as "enemy", in which case a helpful discussion or forgiving becomes difficult.
It may also be worthwhile searching for the real underlying reason of the problem. Of special importance is to evaluate one's own role in the situation: my own fears, insecurity, being very unfriendly, or not being blameless (like leaving home much too late for an appointment and blaming the 5 minutes delay of the train).

ANTIDOTE - Realisation of Emptiness.
See the page on Wisdom. To summarise it briefly, if one deeply realises the emptiness of inherent existence or interdependence of the other person, the situation and oneself, there is nothing to be angry about. The realisation of emptiness is therefore the ultimate means of ridding oneself of unrealistic negative emotions like anger.

ANTIDOTE 7 - Equanimity.
Equanimity means that one realises the basic equality of all sentient beings; others want happiness, just like I do. Others make mistakes just like I do. Others are confused, angry, attached just like I often am. Is the other person happy in this situation, or just struggling like I am?

ANTIDOTE 8 - Openness
Be prepared to be open for the motivation of others to do what causes you problems. Talking it over and being prepared to listen can suddenly make a problem acceptable.
Did you ever notice the difference when a plane or train has much delay and nobody gives any reasons for it? People very quickly become irritated and hostile. Then when the driver or pilot explains there is a technical defect or an accident, suddenly waiting becomes easier.

ANTIDOTE 9 - Relativity.
Ask yourself if this situation is actually important enough to spoil your own and other people's mood. Is this problem worth getting upset in a life where death can hit me at any moment?

ANTIDOTE 10 - Change Your Motivation.
In case a situation is really unacceptable, and another person needs to convinced that something is to be done or changed, there is no need to become upset and angry. It is likely much more efficient if you show of understanding and try to make the other understand the need for change. If one needs to appear angry for some reason to convince the other person of the seriousness of the situation, one can think like a parent acting wrathful to prevent the child from harming itself.
In general, to be really effective one needs to reflect on quite a number of aspects in one's own mind like; forgiveness, peace of mind, fears, self-acceptance (no acceptance of others is really possible without self-acceptance), habits, prejudices etc. A list of aspects to start with is given in the page about the mind, under the 26 non-virtuous mental factors.

ANTIDOTE 11 - Watch Your Hands.
An interesting suggestion from Jon Kabat-Zinn, from 'Wherever You Go, There You Are':

"All our hand postures are mudras in that they are associated with subtle or not-so-subtle energies. Take the energy of the fist, for instance. When we get angry, our hands tend to close into fists. Some people unknowingly practice this mudra a lot in their lives. It waters the seeds of anger and violence within you ever time you do it, and they respond by sprouting and growing stronger.
The next time you find yourself making fists out of anger, try to bring mindfulness to the inner attitude embodied in a fist. Feel the tension, the hatred, the anger, the aggression, and the fear which it contains. Then, in the midst of your anger, as an experiment, if the person you are angry at is present, try opening your fists and placing the palms together over your heart in the prayer position right in front of him. (Of course, he won't have the slightest idea what you are doing.) Notice what happens to the anger and hurt as you hold this position for even a few moments."

ANTIDOTE 12 - Meditation.
Last, but certainly not least, meditation can be the ultimate cure to completely eliminating anger from your mind. In the beginning, one can do analytical meditations (like this meditation on anger), but also meditation on compassion, love and forgiving reduce anger as well. Ultimately, the realization of emptiness eradicates all delusions like anger.
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jameelzaidi7



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PostSubject: Re: ANGER MANAGEMENT & BUDDISM   Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:51 pm

Let us look athe amazing vercity of human psyche discovered about 5,000 years back by a person of no less intellectual status of Buddha; who spent his entire lifein discovering reality after complete abandonment of personal ease & comfort afforded to him as Crown Prince of Kapal Wastu. Leaving behind a full-fledged kingdom, a beautiful consort Yashodhra alongwith a newly born beautifull babe was not an easy task; but he knew great accomplishments always demanded great sacrifices which only people of stature could afford.

Anger or aversion is a situation of disavowal created by two similar poles. Being a negative feeling it emergeswhen two ignoramus are interacting without realizing that the basic cause for this repulsion is equally shared by the actors at a given point in time. It is different that the quality of forgiveness emerges, but only when one partner conquers his negativity & is willing to forgive.

There can't be two opinions about the fact that meditation bringing about complete silence & solace creates an atmosphere for delving deep into one's own psyche, thus helping the past to be seen as an objective reality; and affording an opportunity to give a new turn to future in order to avoid pitfalls & achieve Nirvana. Blessed are those availing this opportunity to put their entire life on the desired path, not only during this transient existence; but also in the times to come. In fact, it is a process of continuous learning till one is at peace with oneself and the desired divine destiny.

In other words, Buddha spelt-out Universal Truth in his teachings. We are , however, lucky to use this knowledge in HRM; but should be luckier to apply it to our entire life for peace, tolerance, an eternal bliss, and happiness which should be in store for us if we give it a sincere trial.
Jameel Zaidi
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