Controlling Anger

Controlling Anger

A reflection on practice by Sayadaw Vivekananda

“Conquer the angry by loving-kindness; conquer the wicked by
goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by
speaking the truth.” (Dhammapada, verse 223)

As human beings we are likely to experience anger on occasion. What to do with it? First, try to be mindful of it’s arising, it’s occurrence, and it’s dissolution. Furthermore, try to know the conditions that lead to it’s arising, such as seeing an undesirable animate or inanimate object. Be aware of the seeing (hearing, smelling etc.) process and pay attention to how this generates disliking in the mind. In the absence of mindfulness disliking can easily turn into anger. Notice what kind of objects frequently lead to the arising of anger and watch your reactions around those objects.

More important than knowing which object triggers anger is to watch the mind in a detached manner when it is in an ‘angry mode.’ The problem is less the object than the anger itself. Pay close attention to the qualities of the angry mind, such as its boiling, non-peaceful, ferocious, revengeful nature. An angry mind is agitated, tense, and
tormenting. Be aware of the justification of one’s own anger. Ultimately, anger is never justified. Watch how the anger easily spreads, gains momentum, and gets out of control.
Pay attention to how quickly this can happen. Anger may manifest in many different ways, such as aversion, irritation, feeling grouchy, disliking, getting upset, going into a rage, blowing up, and giving some one the silent treatment. You might also watch for the manifestations of anger in the body such as tension building up, the heart pounding, the face turning red, and sweat forming.

Never act out of anger. Let the anger first subside and then act. Acting out of anger is dangerous for the other person but first of all for yourself. Before harming another person the anger present in one’s own mind is already tormenting one’s own mind. Regular loving kindness meditation will help to weaken anger and smooth relations with ‘difficult‘ people. When anger comes up radiate loving kindness (metta) to yourself and others. Schedule a metta session for one or two hours at home. Loving-kindness meditation can bring about miracle changes when relating to a ‘difficult‘ person. The proximate cause of loving-kindness is seeing the good points in others rather than focusing, as we often do, on the flaws or shortcomings of others.

See more about Sayadaw Vivekananda