Q: Rinpoche, can you share some tips, how to manage anger?
A: This is a question that is very often that is asked, and it is a very often answer I give, and I don’t change my answer based on different individual, I always give a same answer regarding the anger.
So that is, the very existence of the anger, the so called the emotions of the anger, we call it negative emotion, positive emotion, we call by different names. On top of that, we recognize the anger as negative emotion, and we come to the conclusion very fast. We say “our anger is bad”, and we somehow reject the anger, or don’t want to be angry, or we always look at anger little bit like a poison, which is good, but that does not provide a solution, and that does not provide a practical method to overcome the anger itself. That is a general explanation that you need to understand.
Many of us we say, we have lamas and rinpoches and the many Buddhist teachers around the world, who says that anger is bad, that anger is poison, anger is negative emotion. We talk, many of us, we talk about the anger, is bad, negative, bad, negative, bad, negative, all the time. Whenever we have a sensation of anger, and when we conclude, when we accumulate action based on the negative action, based and combined with anger, then we say to ourself “Oh, I am a terrible person, I got angry, I was angry, and I don’t want to be angry”, so on, so forth. But you have to understand, instead of rejecting and saying the anger is bad, which is not the solution.
You cannot say “The anger is bad, and I don’t want to be angry”. All the people in this world, beyond any religion, or beyond any culture, or beyond any borderline, no human being wants to be unhappy. There is no such a human being in this planet who says “I got angry and I am happy”. There is no such human being who finds the anger as a solution. So that is a common sense, that is a common belief, that all of us that we have a common understanding.
That being in place, so now, how can we confront that anger as it is, and challenge, or overcome this very anger emotions? So the only way that you can overcome is to recognize the anger as it is. You cannot overcome anger based on the idea of “I want to control the anger. I don’t want to be angry”. You cannot overcome anger based on that. It’s a little bit like playing with water, and you say “Oh, I don’t want to get wet, my clothes and all that, but I want to play with water.” You cannot play with water without getting wet, with your hands or your clothes, and things like that. So therefore you need to understand that the anger itself is not something that we can simply reject just because that we don’t want it, just because we don’t like it. It is not a practical method that you can overcome. So that is a common understanding.
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