Anger

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
one_awakening
Posts: 72
Joined: Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:04 am

Anger

Post by one_awakening » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:23 am

Anger is a common emotion and people often feel that they need to express their anger. Does anger serve any purpose?
“You only lose what you cling to”

mal4mac
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:47 pm

Re: Anger

Post by mal4mac » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:25 am

I get the impression that most Theravadans would say "no" and suggest you just be aware of the anger and let it go, certainly don't express it. Tibetans (if I recall Ricard correctly) may argue that negative emotions have a positive side, and anger's positive side is *energy*. You shouldn't, of course, use that energy in negative way (beat someone up, say) but, still, you have that energy and can give it a positive twist - use the energy to argue long and hard against a person maybe. Of course, that long and hard argument should aim at relieving suffering all round.

So to answer your question: I'm not sure! I'm just sure you should avoid bringing more suffering into the world through your angry thoughts. Anyone have a definitive answer to this one? Anger good or bad? Let it go, or transform it and use its energy?
- Mal

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3860
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Anger

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:29 am

one_awakening wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:23 am
Anger is a common emotion and people often feel that they need to express their anger. Does anger serve any purpose?
In evolutionary terms, it frightens undesirable rivals away from your sexual partners and the things you need to live, and helps prevent you being at the bottom of the pecking order. Where those evolutionary pressures lessen, its purpose decreases.

Saengnapha
Posts: 1215
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:17 am

Re: Anger

Post by Saengnapha » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:33 am

mal4mac wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:25 am
I get the impression that most Theravadans would say "no" and suggest you just be aware of the anger and let it go, certainly don't express it. Tibetans (if I recall Ricard correctly) may argue that negative emotions have a positive side, and anger's positive side is *energy*. You shouldn't, of course, use that energy in negative way (beat someone up, say) but, still, you have that energy and can give it a positive twist - use the energy to argue long and hard against a person maybe. Of course, that long and hard argument should aim at relieving suffering all round.

So to answer your question: I'm not sure! I'm just sure you should avoid bringing more suffering into the world through your angry thoughts. Anyone have a definitive answer to this one? Anger good or bad? Let it go, or transform it and use its energy?
Any emotion or thought that comes up, if seen as impermanent, dissatisfying, and not self, doesn't harm anyone. There is no need to transform anger. We need to transform our view. Right view is the first step. It is a condition which allows harmony to unfold in all aspects of one's life. It leads to Right Intention and so forth, to Right Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration. This is not a sectarian issue where you decide which school has the right tools. Anger comes about through causes. It is not difficult to see what those causes are if you are ready to look.

mal4mac
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:47 pm

Re: Anger

Post by mal4mac » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:31 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:33 am
Any emotion or thought that comes up, if seen as impermanent, dissatisfying, and not self, doesn't harm anyone. There is no need to transform anger. We need to transform our view. Right view is the first step. It is a condition which allows harmony to unfold in all aspects of one's life. It leads to Right Intention and so forth, to Right Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration. This is not a sectarian issue where you decide which school has the right tools. Anger comes about through causes. It is not difficult to see what those causes are if you are ready to look.
Yes, that's the Theravadan position, except I think there is a sectarian divide. For instance, do you think that the following is RIght View?:

"According to Tibetan Buddhism, there is a flip side to anger: there is wisdom in it. Normally we are too caught up in our personal struggles to connect with this wisdom, but anger actually has an integrity and a sharpness. It is a messenger that something is wrong, that something needs to be addressed. Anger’s awakened energy is said to be crystal clear, like a perfect mirror. It tells it like it is with no dissembling. Anger clears the air. It is immediate, and it is abrupt, but it grabs our attention and gets the point across. Anger interrupts our complacency and mobilizes us to take action.

When we encounter injustice being done to another, when we see violence inflicted on innocent beings, when we see the ways that humans justify almost any crazy act of violence, it is heartbreaking and makes us angry. So anger could be the catalyst that causes us to act with courage and compassion to address violence, injustice, and entrenched ignorance. "

https://www.lionsroar.com/the-poison-tr ... mber-2014/
- Mal

mal4mac
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:47 pm

Re: Anger

Post by mal4mac » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:48 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:29 am
In evolutionary terms, it frightens undesirable rivals away from your sexual partners and the things you need to live, and helps prevent you being at the bottom of the pecking order. Where those evolutionary pressures lessen, its purpose decreases.
This isn't the full story. If you read the latest books on evolutionary psychology, there is a stress on the evolution of kindly behaviour. For instance, if a hunter gatherer is kind to all the others in his tribe he's likely to get a good reputation, which leads to others in the tribe supporting him 'cause he's a "good bloke". In finding himself in the "good bloke" circle he becomes part of a faction that monopolises most of the resources, including sexual partners.

The vicious and psychotic who just try and frighten rivals, and snatch any meat on offer, are exiled or killed, because the nice guys get angry at them. So nice guys can get angry, in fact, if anger increases in the nice guys then psychopaths may be dealt with more effectively. So maybe we need more anger against the likes of Trump and Bin Laden. Maybe some sects of Buddhism have a tendency to reduce anger when we actually need it?!

Of course, this tribe where kindness dominates is not a stable situation. If a really vicious ape with leadership qualities appears, and resources are in short supply, it could become a tribe where everyone fights to the death over resources and sexual favours.
- Mal

User avatar
binocular
Posts: 5405
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Anger

Post by binocular » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:54 pm

mal4mac wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:48 pm
So nice guys can get angry
So now nice and angry go hand in hand? Sounds like some monotheistic idea of a lovingly angry god.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3860
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Anger

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:04 pm

mal4mac wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:48 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:29 am
In evolutionary terms, it frightens undesirable rivals away from your sexual partners and the things you need to live, and helps prevent you being at the bottom of the pecking order. Where those evolutionary pressures lessen, its purpose decreases.
This isn't the full story. If you read the latest books on evolutionary psychology, there is a stress on the evolution of kindly behaviour. For instance, if a hunter gatherer is kind to all the others in his tribe he's likely to get a good reputation, which leads to others in the tribe supporting him 'cause he's a "good bloke". In finding himself in the "good bloke" circle he becomes part of a faction that monopolises most of the resources, including sexual partners.
Yes, there are other evolutionary factors in play, in that anger is not our only characteristic. But I think it is the full story in that anger doesn't have any other purpose.

User avatar
Pondera
Posts: 676
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:02 pm

Re: Anger

Post by Pondera » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:11 pm

Anger and the violence which ensues from anger are likely the causes for upright homonids. If you ever see a monkey get angry, what is the first thing it does? It stands on its feet so that it can fling its arms about violently; pick ups sticks or clods of earth for flinging, etc.

2600htz
Posts: 306
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Anger

Post by 2600htz » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:35 pm

Hello:

Just because wisdom teeth erupt because of a evolutionary background, doesn´t mean they are the best thing for you.
Just because someone did something bad to you, and you have the wish to kill him, doesn´t mean its the best thing for you.

Regards.

Saengnapha
Posts: 1215
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:17 am

Re: Anger

Post by Saengnapha » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:53 pm

mal4mac wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:31 pm
Saengnapha wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:33 am
Any emotion or thought that comes up, if seen as impermanent, dissatisfying, and not self, doesn't harm anyone. There is no need to transform anger. We need to transform our view. Right view is the first step. It is a condition which allows harmony to unfold in all aspects of one's life. It leads to Right Intention and so forth, to Right Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration. This is not a sectarian issue where you decide which school has the right tools. Anger comes about through causes. It is not difficult to see what those causes are if you are ready to look.
Yes, that's the Theravadan position, except I think there is a sectarian divide. For instance, do you think that the following is RIght View?:

"According to Tibetan Buddhism, there is a flip side to anger: there is wisdom in it. Normally we are too caught up in our personal struggles to connect with this wisdom, but anger actually has an integrity and a sharpness. It is a messenger that something is wrong, that something needs to be addressed. Anger’s awakened energy is said to be crystal clear, like a perfect mirror. It tells it like it is with no dissembling. Anger clears the air. It is immediate, and it is abrupt, but it grabs our attention and gets the point across. Anger interrupts our complacency and mobilizes us to take action.

When we encounter injustice being done to another, when we see violence inflicted on innocent beings, when we see the ways that humans justify almost any crazy act of violence, it is heartbreaking and makes us angry. So anger could be the catalyst that causes us to act with courage and compassion to address violence, injustice, and entrenched ignorance. "

https://www.lionsroar.com/the-poison-tr ... mber-2014/
What divide do you see? Energy is not limited to anger. It is there in every moment. We bring energy when we are mindful. The energy of anger is habitual and serves the sense of self. Of course you can diffuse anger, but if there is no insight involved with doing that then there is no release from craving. What you seem to be talking about is a kind of psychology, but this is not what the Buddha was teaching. Your action is a behavioral therapy that does not address the root of suffering. Plus, anger has never been the catalyst for change. Look at the state of the world and ask yourself if anger has made any difference to violence and entrenched ignorance. Look how angry Americans are.

User avatar
L.N.
Posts: 504
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:01 pm

Re: Anger

Post by L.N. » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:39 pm

one_awakening wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:23 am
Does anger serve any purpose?
The Dhammapada mentions how anger can be a chariot.
222. He who checks rising anger as a charioteer checks a rolling chariot, him I call a true charioteer. Others only hold the reins.
"Kodhavagga: Anger" (Dhp XVII), translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita. Access to Insight (BCBS Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html .
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

User avatar
PuerAzaelis
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:44 pm

Re: Anger

Post by PuerAzaelis » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:01 pm

mal4mac wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:31 pm
... there is wisdom in it ...
IMHO that's a view that is unbelievably difficult to put into practice, at least for me.
Generally, enjoyment of speech is the gateway to poor [results]. So it becomes the foundation for generating all negative emotional states. Jampel Pawo, The Certainty of the Diamond Mind

User avatar
LG2V
Posts: 216
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:40 pm

Re: Anger

Post by LG2V » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:47 pm

Recently, I've noticed that anger is an obvious sign that one is viewing things as permanent, satisfactory, and as Self in some way. It's picking up the reused garbage that is the 5 aggregates and replaying painful mental stories in hopes of accessing a mythical state of happiness that would occur "if only this certain thing were not here".

I still get angry pretty often, though. I want to cut through it completely :jedi:
Here are some excellent sites for giving free Dana (Click-Based Donation):
http://freerice.comhttp://greatergood.com/www.ripple.orgwww.thenonprofits.com

paul
Posts: 1096
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 11:27 pm
Location: Vietnam

Re: Anger

Post by paul » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:46 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:33 am
Any emotion or thought that comes up, if seen as impermanent, dissatisfying, and not self, doesn't harm anyone. There is no need to transform anger. We need to transform our view. Right view is the first step. It is a condition which allows harmony to unfold in all aspects of one's life. It leads to Right Intention and so forth, to Right Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration. This is not a sectarian issue where you decide which school has the right tools. Anger comes about through causes. It is not difficult to see what those causes are if you are ready to look.
The above statement is opposed to the transcendent Theravada view. The aim is to actively work towards the eradication of anger (ill-will) which task is accomplished in the third stage of holiness, non-returner.

2. ILL-WILL

A. Nourishment of Ill-Will
There are objects causing aversion; frequently giving unwise attention to them — this is the nourishment for the arising of ill-will that has not yet arisen, and for the increase and strengthening of ill-will that has already arisen.

— SN 46:51

B. Denourishing of Ill-Will
There is the liberation of the heart by loving-kindness; frequently giving wise attention to it — this is the denourishing of the arising of ill-will that has not yet arisen, and the decrease and weakening of ill-will that has already arisen.

— SN 46:51

Cultivate the meditation on loving-kindness! For by cultivating the meditation on loving-kindness, ill-will disappears.

Cultivate the meditation on compassion! For by cultivating the meditation on compassion, cruelty disappears.

Cultivate the meditation on sympathetic joy! For by cultivating the meditation on sympathetic joy, listlessness disappears.

Cultivate the meditation on equanimity! For by cultivating the meditation on equanimity, anger disappears.

— MN 62

Six things are helpful in conquering ill-will:

Learning how to meditate on loving-kindness;
Devoting oneself to the meditation of loving-kindness;
Considering that one is the owner and heir of one's actions (kamma);
Frequent reflection on it (in the following way):
Thus one should consider: "Being angry with another person, what can you do to him? Can you destroy his virtue and his other good qualities? Have you not come to your present state by your own actions, and will also go hence according to your own actions? Anger towards another is just as if someone wishing to hit another person takes hold of glowing coals, or a heated iron-rod, or of excrement. And, in the same way, if the other person is angry with you, what can he do to you? Can he destroy your virtue and your other good qualities? He too has come to his present state by his own actions and will go hence according to his own actions. Like an unaccepted gift or like a handful of dirt thrown against the wind, his anger will fall back on his own head."

Noble friendship;
Suitable conversation.
— Commentary to Satipatthana Sutta

These things, too, are helpful in conquering ill-will:

Rapture, of the factors of absorption (jhananga);
Faith, of the spiritual faculties (indriya);
Rapture and equanimity, of the factors of enlightenment (bojjhanga).
C. Simile
If there is a pot of water heated on the fire, the water seething and boiling, a man with a normal faculty of sight, looking into it, could not properly recognize and see the image of his own face. In the same way, when one's mind is possessed by ill-will, overpowered by ill-will, one cannot properly see the escape from the ill-will which has arisen; then one does not properly understand and see one's own welfare, nor that of another, nor that of both; and also texts memorized a long time ago do not come into one's mind, not to speak of those not memorized.

— SN 46:55

"The Five Mental Hindrances and Their Conquest", Nyanaponika Thera.
Last edited by paul on Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: budo, Sam Vara, seeker242 and 67 guests