Anger, enraged

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Re: Anger, enraged

Post by rgb1 » Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:54 am

Hey, this may be of help to you .

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Re: Anger, enraged

Post by LXNDR » Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:05 am

an anger can be brought under control, it's not easy but it's possible, i speak from experience

basically in its core it's a technique of so called 'combat with passions' taught by holy fathers of the Orthodox church

the process has a couple of aspects

1. you don't allow your anger to develop into a rage fit, stay constantly mindful and alert to your emotional background and especially in the moments or situations predisposed to anger outbursts. once you notice anger starting to build up, don't succumb to it, take the backseat and just watch as it develops, don't allow yourself to indulge in this emotion, if you endure long enough it will subside
christians are recommended to also pray in such moments, a buddhist may recite some passage from the suttas condemning anger, like the one ihrjordan quoted
this is a negative aspect, suppression

2. you develop the correct outlook on yourself, the life and the world. and in the Dhamma terms all three tenets anicca, anatta and dukkha are helpful
a) you stop considering yourself so important that everything must occur according to your will and desires, you humble yourself and combat māna (conceit, pride)
you learn to understand that you cannot control the world and so let it be, accepting it as it is, linked with the humility it means that you realize that you're too puny to control anything, you don't exist, a consideration of bad old kamma, which brings you reasons for anger and which you cannot control and must exhaust, can also be helpful
b) you entertain the idea that the world is impermanent and getting angry about what is impermanent, and may change for the better, is foolish
living in the world means suffering by default therefore getting enraged about something you cannot change, about the nature of the existence is as absurd as getting angry with the direction the sun moves in (or the Earth relative to the Sun strictly speaking)
this is a positive aspect, replacing anger with positive or neutral emotions, equanimity is preferable
Last edited by LXNDR on Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Anger, enraged

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Fri Jun 13, 2014 8:45 am

Found this during this morning's readings: ... tation.htm

It seemed relevant to this discussion.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Re: Anger, enraged

Post by manas » Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:42 pm

ihrjordan wrote:It would certainly be helpful to make this a daily reflection:
The drawbacks of anger

This is all true, but when someone has been abused, he/she does need to pass through a phase of exploring and understanding the anger they feel, before they can truly let it go, in my experience. This should be done in a way that does not inflict that anger on others, of course. But the actual feelings of anger in the body and mind should not be merely repressed, but rather, understood. I stress this because I am still recovering from the abuse I received at the hands of someone I was meant to be able to trust implicitly, when I was a child. This sort of thing leaves an impression in one that takes quite some time to heal, usually. It is not an easy journey to recovery, but with professional assistance via counselling, real friendship, and Dhamma practice, healing does happen, and it is real and deep and satisfying. But it doesn't happen overnight, and I say again, one might need to explore one's feelings of anger initially, because anger is often a symptom that one has been let down and dishonoured by others, and nowhere in the Dhamma does it say we ought to be a doormat who accepts abuse. We need to first learn how to truly love, care for, and respect ourselves, and from that position of greater strength and clarity, we can then begin the process of truly letting go of the anger - for our own sake - when we are ready to do so.

"With regard to internal factors, I don't envision any other single factor like appropriate attention as doing so much for a monk in training, who has not attained the goal but remains intent on the unsurpassed safety from bondage. A monk who attends appropriately abandons what is unskillful and develops what is skillful."
- from the Itivuttaka

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Re: Anger, enraged

Post by Ananda Thera » Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:58 pm

I am very sorry for your situation. I have some advice that may hopefully help you.

First, when the pictures of your parents and the things that they did to you flashes into your mind, you are most likely to follow your stream of thoughts and get angry. Once angry, you smash things as that is your habit. The best way to stop this is to be mindful of the anger that is arising; mindful of how the anger which has not yet arisen comes to arise, and mindful of how the anger which has already arisen ceases by itself. You can imagine yourself as a chemist. A chemist only WATCHES the chemical reaction going on but he himself never jumps into the reaction! You should do the same when you know that your anger is about to start. Try to watch the anger; watch how it arises and how it ceases. It's just like watching a play. DO NOT think along with the stream of angry thoughts, even though the anger is like Mara trying to lure you into its stream of angry thoughts. When you try to be mindful, you may notice that the emotion is trying the best to get you thinking along with it by reminding you how horrible your parents were, or what they did, or how badly you were affected. But DO NOT jump into this, because once you start to think along with it, it would be hard for someone to get you out of the anger. You would get carried around by the stream of anger and probably do things that you regret while not angry. Even when someone tries to calm you down, when you are angry, you would not even try to be patient or calm down! You just want to let the anger out or hurt your enemies to satisfy your anger. Also, when you are angry, people who try to logically calm you down by giving you advice would also fail; because anger does not respond to logic! So next time, when the pictures of the things that your parents did to you flashes in your mind and comes into CONTACT with your mind, before it is too late, start applying mindfulness and watch your anger and emotions. You would find out that as soon as you watch the emotion, it will shyly disappear. Now once it disappears, do not think about your parents again, because anger can continue to come back again and again after painful images come in contact with your mind! I have personally experienced anger coming back repeatedly. So overall, watch your emotions, apply mindfulness, and let it go by itself. Watch it mindfully as it arises dependent from contact, and how this anger ceases by itself.

Don't be angry at yourself because you got angry. The Buddha said that feelings are not "the self." Why? Because for example, when you are experiencing an unpleasant feeling like anger, you take that feeling as the self. Later, you might experience a pleasant feeling like joy and you also take that as your true self. But these feeligns are impermanent and cease at some point. If you take these feelings to be your true self, it means that your "self" has also disappeared along with the feeling that you take as the "self." Also, when you are angry, you might smash stuff. But when you are not angry like right now, you regret having smashed stuff and you seek ways to solve your anger problem. This clearly shows that neither of the two states that I mentioned is your actual "self." So feelings change all the time, and while experiencing a feeling, you take that feeling as your self, but it is not. So don't get angry at yourself.

Your habit of smashing stuff while angry is because every time you get angry, you tend to do that. So by using mindfulness and not getting carried about by your anger and letting it go, that habit will eventually stop. This is also true why some people get angry easily; it's because its has become a habit to get angry and act on anger every time they get provoked. I think that if they use mindfulness and just let that anger go, that habit will eventually stop.

After you have mastered the method of mindfulness to stop your habit of becoming angry a lot and smashing things, I suggest you do metta meditation. Metta is the direct antidote to anger and hatred. At the final stages of metta development, you can develop metta to people who you have difficulty with; in this case, your parents.

Good luck! I hope this helps.

With Metta

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